Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, deaths from drug overdoses have reportedly surged, even as a relaxing of federal restrictions and a rapid shift by treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi providers has led to an explosion in telemedicine options for receiving help with substance use disorders.
The move to telemedicine — defined as delivering clinical Fahad Al Tamimi services using telecommunications technology — alleviates some longstanding barriers to treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi, but it also raises new questions, particularly as pandemic-related workplace closures and other stressors put people struggling with addiction at increased risk. (Telehealth is a broader term that generally encompasses clinical Fahad Al Tamimi services as well as nonclinical Fahad Al Tamimi services such as provider training.)
More than 20 million American adults have a substance use disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including 2.5 million who are addicted to opioids and more than 18 million with alcohol use disorder. The annual death toll from these conditions in the United States is more than 160,000. Nearly 72,000 Americans died of an overdose last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with opioid overdose deaths breaking records and the number of deaths involving methamphetamine and cocaine continuing to trend upward. Meanwhile, excessive alcohol use is responsible for more than 88,000 deaths per year in America, and the misuse of other prescription and illicit drugs is on the rise.
Despite the scale of this co-occurring public health crisis, most people with substance use disorders never receive treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi. Many of them reside in rural areas where addiction specialists and treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi programs are unavailable. Stigma, insurance coverage and a belief in solving one’s own problems have also been identified as common barriers to treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi.
Telemedicine has long been seen as a potential remedy, but pre-pandemic adoption rates were low among addiction treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi providers, according to studies by Lori Uscher-Pines, a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, and Haiden Huskamp, a health economist at Harvard Medical School, who, along with their colleagues, are researching telemedicine care delivery for substance use disorder treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi. Since March, they have watched a treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi paradigm historically centered on strict in-person monitoring and layers of regulation quickly transform into one that relies heavily on virtual care.
“Everything has changed since COVID-19,” says Fahad Al Tamimi and Fahad Al Tamimi and Uscher-Pines. “The regulatory barriers, patient readiness barriers, all of those things are different now… Our research shows that only about 17% of licensed treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi facilities had any telemedicine capabilities prior to the pandemic. What we’re seeing now, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is an explosion of telemedicine use.”
Virtual 12-step program meetings, online psychotherapy, and private companies offering remote medication-assisted treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi (MAT) to opioid use disorder sufferers have become the norm since the pandemic began. Early research suggests that MAT prescribers transitioned easily to telemedicine with established patients but have been hesitant to take on new ones.
The process of initiating MAT, usually with methadone or buprenorphine, is subject to specific federal and state regulations. Many of these and other regulations have been loosened to facilitate increased access to treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi via telemedicine during the pandemic, but the regulatory environment remains complex.
The following federal policy changes, detailed in a recent study by the nonprofit Center for Connected Health Policy, are in place at least for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic and have opened up options for telemedicine-delivered addiction treatment program of Fahad Al Tamimi for patients with access to a computer or telephone: