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Despite the fact that addiction is one of the biggest public health crises in our country, health care providers receive minimal training in addiction. Unlike with other common health conditions, most health care providers simply do not know what to do when a patient has a substance use disorder and are unequipped to identify, treat and manage a common life-threatening disease that is both preventable and treatable.
To ensure that people with addiction receive the treatment they need, health care professionals must be trained to treat addiction as they do any other complex disease. At a minimum, prescribers must have a working understanding of addiction before they are permitted to prescribe addictive narcotics.
We urge you to send a letter to your member of Congress to have them cosponsor the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act, S.4640/H.R.4974, a bill that would require prescribers to undergo opioid and substance use disorder training before receiving or renewing their license to prescribe controlled substances.
For more information, please read our position statement on addiction training for health care professionals.
Cosponsor the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act
Dear [Decision Maker],
I write to urge you to cosponsor S.4640/H.R.4974, the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act, which would require prescribers of controlled substances to undergo opioid and substance use disorder training.
Unlike for other common and life-threatening health conditions, health care providers receive minimal education and training on substance use disorders. This is largely due to the stigma against addiction, which effectively removed it from the purview of the medical community more than 100 years ago. While there is now greater understanding and acceptance that addiction is a disease, we still have a long way to go to treat it as one. We cannot effectively end our nation's addiction crisis without equipping our health care system to prevent, identify, treat and manage addiction like diabetes, heart disease, or any other chronic condition. As the opioid crisis has worsened in recent years, professional health care education and training programs have begun to incorporate some addiction training into their curricula. Yet, such changes have not been widely adopted, signaling the need for mandated training requirements.Training requirements are especially important for those who prescribe controlled substances with potential for addiction. The MATE Act would require health care providers to undergo training in opioid and other substance use disorders in order to receive or maintain a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration to prescribe controlled substances. This training will also help satisfy the training requirement for prescribing buprenorphine, a medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid use disorder, thereby increasing the number of health care providers eligible to provide life-saving treatment for opioid addiction. Importantly, S.4640 would also require prescribers to undergo bias and anti-racism training to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in identifying and treating addiction. While provider training, alone, will not achieve full integration of addiction treatment with the mainstream health care system, it is essential and will save lives. It will allow patients and families to turn to their trusted health care provider when seeking advice or treatment for addiction because health care providers will finally have the confidence and knowledge to know what to do.
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue. I hope you will be able to add your support to the MATE Act.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]