“Recent surges in opioid addiction and opioid overdose deaths in the United States have triggered considerable public and professional alarm, including its emergence as an issue in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Public health responses to the rise in opioid-related problems have focused primarily on: 1) suppression of illicit opioid markets, 2) public education on opioid addiction risks, 3) prescription opioid disposal campaigns, 4) physician training and monitoring, 5) new non-opioid protocols for non-cancer pain management, 6) introduction of abuse-deterrent opioid formulations, 7) increased legal access and distribution of naloxone (Narcan®) for overdose intervention, and 8) efforts to expand access to addiction treatment—particularly medication-assisted treatment.
As long-tenured addiction researchers, the authors have supported these efforts, but have been struck by the scant attention given to the role recovery mutual aid organizations, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are playing and can yet play in the national response to opioid addiction. If NA is mentioned at all in public or policy discussions of opioid addiction, it is as a fleeting reference to its existence as a post-treatment referral option, or, more frequently, in criticism of its alleged hostility toward maintenance medications in the management of opioid addiction. Such neglect, peripheral attention, or narrow coverage is puzzling, given that NA is the one surviving recovery mutual aid organization whose birth in the early 1950s focused almost exclusively on recovery from heroin and other opioid addiction.”
Source: WilliamWhitePapers.com – May 27, 2016