State Medicaid agencies limiting painkiller addiction treatment

Prescription painkiller addicts who are actively seeking treatment are facing a new obstacle: State Medicaid agencies. In a report commissioned by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), it was discovered that only 28 state Medicaid agencies cover all three of medications that the Food and Drug Administration has approved for opioid addiction treatment: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. In addition, even in the states that do cover all three medications, patients face lifetime limits.

Dr. Mark Publicker, an addiction care physician, told Stateline, the news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts, that he believed that denying addicts the medicine that they need is discriminatory.

"You wouldn't deprive a diabetic of insulin," he said to the source. "You wouldn't stop giving hypertension drugs to a patient with high blood pressure after successful treatment. You wouldn't hold back a statin from a patient with high cholesterol."

Publicker continued by saying that just like any other person who is denied much-needed medication, drug addicts who do not receive theirs "will die."

According to Stateline, many states have imposed lifetime limits on addiction medications in order to save money. Maine State Representative Elizabeth Dickerson, told the source that methadone programs cost the state $15 million annually. She also expressed that it was her belief that addiction treatment simply allows a person to replace one drug with another.

ASAM recommends in its report that states should reconsider their stances on limiting addiction medications. Opioid dependency is a nationwide epidemic, they say, and adequate treatment is the only way to fight it.

If your friend or relative is abusing prescription medications, now is the time to seek help. Contact Intervention Services today to be connected with an experienced interventionist who can guide your loved one into a treatment program.

Intervention ServicesState Medicaid agencies limiting painkiller addiction treatment