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Friday, November 1, 2013

Military Approves Buprenorphine and Methadone Treatment

Logo of TRICARE, the health care plan for the ...
Addiction is not a new problem for the military, yet the treatment techniques for substance abuse is antiquated. Years of fighting in foreign conflicts has left thousands of service men and women mentally and physically unstable, prompting many to turn to drugs and alcohol for relief. Prescription drug abuse has been on the rise for some time now, although in the past the Defense Department’s healthcare plan wouldn’t cover the opioid addiction medications buprenorphine and methadone.

Fortunately, starting next month, the Defense Department will cover such medications, according to the Air Force Times. In the past, the military health plan, Tricare, would only approve medications for short-term, detoxification, and pain management, the article notes.

“Medication-assisted treatment, to include drug maintenance involving substitution of a therapeutic drug with addiction potential, for a drug of addiction, is now generally accepted … and thus appropriate for inclusion as a component in the Tricare-authorized substance use disorder treatment,” according to the Federal Register.

The Institute of Medicine gave cause for the Pentagon to change its restrictions on opioid addiction treatment after a report last year. The report pointed out that substance abuse in the U.S. military has become a public health crisis.

Hopefully, updated addiction treatment practices will help reduce the chances of relapse amongst those struggling with addiction. With the approval of buprenorphine and methadone in military, better patient monitoring will be required if the drugs are going to have the desired effect.
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