US to Expand Access to Opioid Addiction Medicine for Pregnant Women

Photo: medicalxpress

The Facts

  • On Friday, the Biden administration announced a new plan to expand access to medication that treats substance use disorders, particularly opioid addiction, for pregnant women through federal court and health programs.

  • This is part of a larger push to address the US drug crisis that reportedly causes more than 100k deaths annually.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

This is an important step forward to address the ongoing opioid crisis in the US and help protect some of the most vulnerable people in society: pregnant women and their children. The use of medications like buprenorphine and methadone is an evidence-based opioid addiction treatment and a scientifically proven way to reduce drug dependency and save lives. We know these medications work, and we have a duty to make them universally available.

Establishment-critical narrative

A substance-replacement approach to drug addiction is not the solution. Drugs like buprenorphine and methadone are opioids themselves — switching one opioid for another, albeit prescribed, only serves to encourage ongoing drug use. It's not a long-term or sustainable answer to drug addiction, which is why relapse is so common. We have to do better for pregnant women and their future children by supporting them through detox and providing the support they need to abstain from drugs going forward.

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