The United States continues to struggle with a comprehensive, effective strategy to address alcohol and drug-related morbidity and mortality. Challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation. In 2020, over 93,000 Americans died from a drug-related poisoning (i.e., overdose) the majority of which included an opioid, a 24.9% increase over the prior year. Methamphetamine-related overdose deaths have nearly tripled over the past 4 years. This occurred at a time when significant federal, state, and local resources are invested in reducing opioid and other drug-related morbidity and mortality. This represents one of the greatest public health failures in our generation. Unlike our current pandemic, there is a longstanding body of robust science and practice-based evidence to mitigate the so-called “opioid crisis”. However, these programs are not fully accessible and barriers to their implementation continue. Using a set of statewide initiatives in Texas, this presentation discusses the underlying rationale, approach, and current status of a suite of systematic interventions intended to increase access to compassionate, evidence-based treatment for opioid and other substance use disorders including medication, stigma reduction, peer recovery support services, and systems level interventions.
1. Define critical components of a comprehensive approach to statewide OUD treatment program.
2. Identify ongoing challenges with care delivery for OUD treatment.
3. Explain how technology and telehealth helps to overcome barriers to access to evidence-based treatment for OUD in underserved areas.