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Administration Unveils Plan to Combat Opioid Crisis

The Trump administration has unveiled an initiative to stop opioid abuse and reduce the supply of such drugs.

The initiative, which the president announced at a March 19 event in New Hampshire, aims to reduce over-prescribing of opioids by cutting nationwide fills by one-third within three years. It follows a three-pronged approach:

  • reduce drug demand through education, awareness, and preventing over-prescribing;
  • cut off the flow of illicit drugs domestically and internationally; and
  • expand opportunities for proven treatments for opioid and other drug addictions.

The effort will include a nationwide public campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription and illicit opioid use. The administration also is soliciting stories from those affected by the crisis to demonstrate how opioid use touches lives and to help end the stigma of addiction.

IMD Exclusion Provision

This initiative seeks legislative changes to the institution of mental disease (IMD) exclusion, which precludes Medicaid reimbursement for inpatient treatment in IMDs with more than 16 beds.

As the administration pursues this change, it will continue to approve state Medicaid section 1115 demonstration programs that waive the IMD exclusion. At a March 1 White House Summit on Opioids, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar encouraged governors seeking changes to their state Medicaid programs to separate IMD exclusion waivers to allow the agency to expedite review and implementation.

America’s Essential Hospitals has established a resource page for the opioid epidemic. Visit this page for new and updated information.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Zina Gontscharow is a former senior policy analyst for America's Essential Hospitals.

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