President Joe Biden is being scorched after ending a critical Trump admin plan that played a major role in the treatment of opioid addictions.
The move from the Trump administration was widely praised by both physicians and lawmakers, and came on the heels of another spike in opioid-related deaths during the pandemic. It allowed more physicians to prescribe patients an opioid-treatment drug.
Criticizing the Biden administration on the reversal, Trump’s Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Brett Giroir warned the move “will cost thousands of lives.”
In a message obtained by The Washington Post last week, the Biden administration said Trump’s forthcoming Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder issued on Jan. 14 was announced “prematurely.” “Therefore,” team Biden said, “the Guidelines previously announced cannot be issued at this time.”
The White House attempted to cover-up for the disastrous fallout that came from canceling the life saving policy by saying, “The Biden-Harris administration absolutely supports broader access to medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder, and is working to find ways to lift burdensome restrictions on medications for opioid use disorder treatment.”
The Post underscored that Trump’s plan “was widely hailed by physicians,” noting that the head of the American College for Emergency Physicians Mark Rosenberg deemed the accomplishment “a great day for our patients.’”
“The Biden administration has been criticized by physicians and lawmakers since reports that the new president would halt Trump’s plan — particularly because as a candidate, Biden had criticized the prescribing rules and vowed to lift them if elected,” noted the Post.
Giroir on Thursday took to Twitter to blast the Biden reversal, warning it “will cost thousands of lives.”
“This [POTUS] decision […] means a tragic day for all suffering with #opioid use disorder, and will cost thousands of lives. The [HHS] practice guidelines stemmed from 2 years of evidence examination, science, legal review, and stakeholder engagement,” Giroir wrote.
“With US #overdose deaths >83,000/yr and increasing 18% per year, expanding access to medications was supported by @theNAMedicine, @NIH, @FDA commissioner @AmerMedicalAssn @ACEPNow @ONDCP45 @JeromeAdamsMD and numerous other groups. @POTUS: time to put science before politics,” he said.
Giroir added, “If guideline reversed,~1 million doctors can continue to prescribe potentially addictive oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, etc.; but only 66,000 will be able to prescribe the safe and effective treatment for #opioid use disorder, #buprenorphine. #XtheXwaiver.”
In a Jan. 14 release on the Trump plan, the administration underscored the issues with opioids, particularly during the pandemic: “More than 83,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in June 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, and an increase of over 21% compared to the previous year, according to recent provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
“The increase in overdose deaths highlights the need for treatment services to be more accessible for people most at risk of overdose and today’s action will expand access to and availability of treatment for opioid use disorder,” the HHS continued.
“The medical evidence is clear: access to medication-assisted treatment, including buprenorphine that can be prescribed in office-based settings, is the gold standard for treating individuals suffering from opioid use disorder,” Giroir said at the time.