On Thursday, October 24, the Senate Finance Committee held a full committee hearing on the topic of substance abuse in the United States. Among the witnesses was the Surgeon General of the United States, Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH. Dr. Adams detailed the current approach of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), highlighted reasons for optimism, and identified areas where continued efforts are necessary.

Dr. Adams stated that “HHS’s immediate priorities include…emergency department medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs with warm handoffs following overdose…”.

Dr. Adams’s testimony is in addition to this statement made by Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in August 2019: “Healthcare is not yet doing enough to avail itself of a valuable lever in the opioid crisis: using visits to emergency rooms to get patients with OUD on medication and provide them with naloxone. Intervening in these simple ways would greatly help reduce the shocking numbers of deaths from opioids in this country.”

 

Read the entire testimony of the Surgeon General and other witnesses.

Read Center for U.S. Policy Chairman Michael C. Barnes’s presentation and law review article on warm handoffs.