Biden Administration Outlines Plan to Increase SUD Treatment Access in First-Year Drug Policy Priorities

The Biden Administration has released its first-year drug policy priorities. 

The agenda, released Thursday, includes seven main areas on which the administration says it will focus during its first year in office. Those priorities include increasing access to evidence-based SUD treatment, particularly for buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment (MAT); better enforcing behavioral health parity; improving racial equity; and enhancing harm-reduction efforts, in addition to other priorities.

When it comes to treatment access, the administration said it’s committed to achieving universal coverage to help people with SUD get the care they need.

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To do that, it will spend its first year in office working with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to review parity progress, develop recommendations to modernize methadone treatment and remove barriers to buprenorphine prescribing, according to the report.

Plus, it will establish a working group with health care insurers and employers to promote full implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

Additionally, it will push to extend the opioid public health emergency, explore making COVID-19-related SUD flexibilities permanent and address policy barriers related to contingency management.

On top of that, the administration plans to seek to expand the workforce of bilingual prevention professionals and peer specialists by offering incentives to train in the SUD field.

Also on the Biden Administration’s year-one to-do list is improving racial equity in SUD treatment.

It plans to do that by identifying gaps in drug policy to target unmet needs in diverse communities, working on criminal justice reform and putting more focus, research and resources towards figuring out how to better meet the needs of historically underserved communities.

Other priorities include supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use, reducing the supply of illicit substances in the U.S., helping people in recovery find employment and expanding access to recovery support services.

You can read the full report here.