May 01, 2018

Treating substance use disorders via telemedicine: barriers and reforms

Daniel Zinsmaster, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Columbus, OH and Margaret Power, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Morgantown, WV

On October 26, 2017, the opioid epidemic was officially declared a national public health emergency by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).1  Despite the significant attention being given to the crisis, data shows that the problem has yet to peak, as the prevalence rate for overdoses continues to rise.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released data showing that overdose deaths in the United States increased by 29.7 percent between July 2016 and September 2017, rising on average 5.6 percent per quarter.2  While many options are being explored to determine how to effectively treat the spectrum of health issues related to substance use disorders, leveraging telehealth and telemedicine as a treatment modality in the addiction medicine field has only begun to be explored as a viable option.  

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