“America’s opioid epidemic claimed an appalling 64,000 lives in 2016, and just one in five patients who needed treatment received it. With the number of lives lost to opioid addiction growing, the country urgently needs Congress to pass the Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act – badly needed legislation that can make medication-assisted addiction treatment available to many more people who are in grave danger.
This bill can literally save lives by empowering clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists to prescribe buprenorphine. The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists commends Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-NY) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) for introducing and championing it in Congress.
H.R. 3692 will allow advanced practice nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training while, at the same time, expanding access to life-saving treatment for vulnerable patients in the throes of opioid use disorder. In particular, empowering these nurses to prescribe this treatment will benefit rural patients and pregnant and postpartum women who are addicts.
As a member of the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists supports all meaningful efforts to reduce and prevent opioid addiction. Our support for a solution to this national crisis included the formation of the Opioid/Pain Management Task Force, which is charged with identifying resources to assist clinical nurse specialists in meeting the needs of patients experiencing pain that reduces the need for opioids. Last year’s enactment of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act was a good first step, but we need the Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act to become law too if we are to stem the terrible toll this epidemic is taking. We need all hands on deck to address America’s opioid epidemic and it’s time to empower highly educated nurses to do more. We urge Congress to pass this bill quickly, and for President Trump to sign it into law.”
Vince Holly, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS is the President of the 2017-2018 NACNS Board of Directors.