WSHA and the Washington State Medical Association’s (WSMA’s) joint opioid taskforce was granted a seat at a private meeting with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams in Seattle June 29. The meeting included just 25 individuals representing local and government agencies, with WSMA Associate Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs Jeb Shepard representing the WSHA/WSMA taskforce. The meeting provided an opportunity for the surgeon general to learn more about the work being done locally to address the opioid crisis.
The concerns the group raised at the meeting included the high cost of naloxone, barriers to mobile methadone treatment, the need for waivers to prescribe buprenorphine, the lack of funding for transportation to and from treatment and related services (especially for those being released from jail), the need for affordable housing, and the need for a fully integrated substance use disorder treatment program, including capital funding for tribes to build health care infrastructure.
WSHA was pleased the taskforce was granted an invite to the meeting, allowing us to join in the conversation as we work toward solutions to the opioid crisis. (Ian Corbridge)