American Opioid Epidemic: Future Recommendations

Substance abuse disorders were always undertreated. Although there has been an improvement in treatment due to increased education and research, there is still more that can be done. Only 10% of substance abuse patients receive specialized treatment (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). Over 40% of patients with a substance abuse disorder also have a mental health condition. This treatment gap is due to the “inability to access or afford care, fear of shame and discrimination, and lack of screening for substance abuse disorders in healthcare settings” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, np, 2016). Multiple pain management methods are available as an alternative to controlling the opioid epidemic. Osterhaus advocates for a solution that doesn’t put legitimate pain patients at risk, but rather focuses resources to prescribers and pharmacists. He encourages pharmacists to read the CDC’s guidelines and be a resource to prescribers to improve patients’ pain and quality of life (Balick, 2016).