CHA News Article

ACP Outlines Public Policies for Treating Substance Use Disorder

A new policy paper from the American College of Physicians addresses substance use disorders involving illegal and prescription drugs – a growing health issue in the United States. After reviewing available studies, reports and surveys on substance use disorder prevention and treatment, the paper’s authors put forth a series of recommendations which were then reviewed by the ACP’s Health and Public Policy Committee. Recommendations geared at physicians, policymakers and other stakeholders include:

  • Manage substance use disorder as a chronic medical condition.
  • Use treatment-focused programs as alternatives to criminal penalties for those with substance use disorders found guilty of the sale or possession of illicit substances.
  • Assess the risks and benefits of removing or reducing criminal penalties for nonviolent offenses involving illicit drugs.
  • Require health insurance to cover mental health conditions, including the evidence-based treatment of substance use disorders, and follow parity rules.
  • Expand the workforce of substance use disorder treatment professionals.