A Letter from the President

Advocacy

Addiction Treatment Teams (ATT)

Opioid medications used to relieve pain are beneficial to many, but are often over-prescribed as is now well documented. The overuse and misuse of these medications in the United States over the past decade has contributed to thousands of overdose deaths. According to SAMSHA:

  • 7 million Americans reported current nonmedical use of prescription drugs in 2010
  • 2 million people reported using prescription painkillers non-medically for the first time within the last year-nearly 5,500 a day in 2010
  • 1 in 4 people using drugs for first time in 2010 began by using a prescription drug nonmedically
  • 6 of the top 10 abused substances among high school seniors are prescription drugs..

Comprehensive treatment is needed to provide all the tools in the tool box, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, detoxification, counseling, medication assisted treatment, and recovery supports. A workforce needs to be developed that would include additional psychiatrists, psychologists, masters level clinicians, and recovery support specialists.

While critical and worthy of making a long-term priority, significant effort needs to be made in the short-term as well, as people are literally dying as we work to put a comprehensive system in place. However, we cannot be satisfied with piecemeal treatment that varies by location and provider system.

Under HEA 1541 (Davisson/Merritt), Addiction Treatment Teams will be developed to provide comprehensive treatment for opioid addiction and other substance use disorders in response to the workforce shortage. The goal of an Addiction Treatment Team will be to move the patient with a substance use disorder into comprehensive treatment, as well as to educational services, vocational training, and employment.

At a minimum the Addiction Treatment Team would consist of a:

  1. Psychologist or Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor or other masters level licensed therapist certified by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction,
  2. Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant; and
  3. Recovery Coach certified by a credentialing body endorsed by the Division of Mental Health

To insure access to comprehensive mental health services, the Addiction Treatment Team will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for purposes of referral with a mental health provider that treats patients with substance use disorder and a pharmacy.

DMHA will develop a funding mechanism through Recovery Works to encourage the development and proliferation of Addiction Treatment Teams. At the same time, private or community funding would be able to provide additional financial resources to the Addiction Treatment Team as well. Private funding may be an option, but not a requirement, as some communities may not have the community or private resources--yet at the same time have a high priority substance abuse problem.

These Addiction Treatment Teams will be able to supplement treatment infrastructure shortages in a permanent location, a temporary location or as a mobile unit. It is envisioned that priority will include geographically high-risk and underserved areas.

HEA 1541 will create Recovery focused Addiction Treatment Teams and will allow Indiana citizens to receive comprehensive treatment for individuals with Opioid Use Disorder-- as we develop the resources and infrastructure to which Indiana must still commit.