WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, the Seacoast Online editorial board yesterday applauded Senator Maggie Hassan’s bipartisan bill to train more new doctors to prescribe medication-assisted treatment as part of her efforts to combat the fentanyl, heroin, and opioid epidemic. The editorial board commended Senator Hassan’s timely efforts, which complement the important work the York Hospital Recovery Center is doing through its new medication-assisted treatment program that is open to anyone struggling with addiction in Kittery, Wells, Berwick, South Berwick, and Sanford, Maine, and in New Hampshire.
Senators Maggie Hassan and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the bipartisan Enhancing Access to Addiction Treatment Act of 2018 recently to support medical schools and residency programs in training students and residents in addiction medicine in order to allow more new doctors to prescribe medication-assisted treatment.
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York Hospital has opened a first of its kind facility in southern York County that is leading the way to recovery for Seacoast residents battling substance use disorder.
The York Hospital Recovery Center is a new medication-assisted treatment program that aims to provide a way out of addition. The program is open to anyone -- from the York Hospital catchment area in Kittery, Wells, Berwick, South Berwick and Sanford, Maine, to New Hampshire. And it is needed to help our region in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
… At the new York center, MAT will pair intensive counseling and therapy with an FDA-approved medication to treat opioid use disorder. The Recovery Center offers its patients buprenorphine (Suboxone), a prescription medication that acts to curb cravings and lower the potential for abuse. Ten York Hospital doctors have completed the mandated buprenorphine prescription training and one of them is at the center every Tuesday.
… While the York Hospital center is the first in the southern York County region, the model is gaining traction nationwide.
… This week, New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced the bipartisan Enhancing Access to Addiction Treatment Act of 2018 to help train more new doctors to prescribe medication-assisted treatment. “Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment is critical to helping save lives and turning the tide of the devastating opioid crisis.” Hassan said. “By helping to get more new doctors trained to prescribe medication-assisted treatment, this bipartisan bill will help strengthen our treatment infrastructure and give those struggling with substance use disorder the support they need to get on the road to recovery.”
… The Hassan-Portman bill specifically would provide grants to train medical students and residents for treating and managing opiate-dependent patients. The bill would also allow trained physicians to begin prescribing anti-addiction drugs like suboxone faster.
Medications like suboxone are an important tool to help combat the opioid epidemic that is killing far too many in our communities. Increasing the number of doctors trained to prescribe suboxone and other medications and removing bureaucratic red tape represents real progress. Building a support system for patients in recovery ensures that medical treatment occurs in conjunction with counseling and education, to get at the issues underlying a person’s addiction. We applaud York Hospital for the opening of its new recovery center and Senators Hassan and Portman for their timely efforts in the U.S. Senate.