AHCA could worsen opioid addiction crisis: Experts

AHCA could worsen opioid addiction crisis: Experts

The unrelenting crisis regarding opioid addiction in the United States may get even worse with the recent passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), according to some experts. The Republicans’ replacement for Obamacare or ACA has been facing harsh criticism ever since the House passed it on last Thursday. Now, it is makes its way to the U.S. Senate, while health care advocates and a number of physicians are mulling what the new law would mean for the most vulnerable patients, particularly drug addicts.

The Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose’s Dr. Yngvild Olsen, who is also a member of board of directors at the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said the passage of the bill disappointed her and many others.

When asked for a comment on the bill, Olsen said, “I, along with many others are very disappointed in the passage of the bill, given how it clearly rolls back many of the protections and many of the benefits that we’ve seen with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), particularly for individuals who have substance abuse disorders.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the number of opioid-related drug overdose deaths has almost quadrupled since 1999 and more than half a million people have lost their lives from overdoses in the past one and a half decade.