Tags: HHS | Tom Price | addiction | opioids

HHS's Price Chided for His Position on Opioid Treatment

Image: HHS's Price Chided for His Position on Opioid Treatment
HHS Secretary Tom Price (AP Photo/Ron Sachs)

By    |   Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:19 PM

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is coming under fire for discounting the use of milder opioid drugs, like methadone, to treat addiction.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon, was taken to task by addiction specialists and other physicians for criticizing drugs that have become standard treatment for opioid addiction, Politico reported.

"If we just simply substitute buprenorphine or methadone or some other opioid-type medication for the opioid addiction, then we haven't moved the dial much," Price told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

He added he was encouraged by medications like the non-opioid naltrexone, known as Vivitrol, which he said "actually blocks the addictive behavior as well as the seeking behavior." 

"That's exciting stuff," Price said. "So, we ought to be looking at those types of things to actually get folks cured so that they can come back and become productive members of society and realize their dreams."

In a series of tweets Thursday, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy argued "science clearly shows that medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder . . . is effective at addressing addiction."

"Science, not opinion, should guide our recommendations and policies," he tweeted.

Camden, N.J., Dr. Corey Waller of the American Society of Addiction Medicine told Politico that Price was making "a dangerous, dangerous statement."

"He is moving out of the world of scientific fact into the world of alternative facts," he told the outlet.

"Dr. Price, being an orthopedic surgeon who is not trained in neurobiology, should trust the experts in this field and allow us to practice what the evidence shows is best, not what we hope or feel is best."

Methadone users have long been stigmatized, and Price's statement "goes against decades of evidence that has been extremely difficult to translate into policy," Northeastern University health law professor Leo Beletsky told Politico.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is coming under fire for discounting the use of milder opioid drugs, like methadone, to treat addiction.
HHS, Tom Price, addiction, opioids
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2017-19-11
Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:19 PM
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