About 2 million people in the U.S. abuse painkillers with over 40 people dying every day from accidental overdoses.
To prevent addiction and curb unwanted deaths from prescription painkillers, the Obama administration will propose rules on Tuesday to boost medication-based treatments for individuals addicted to opioids.
Speaking at the annual National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, President Barack Obama will announce additional actions to strengthen America's fight against opioid abuse and heroin epidemic.
The actions, which aim to expand access to treatment, boost community prevention strategies and prevent deaths from overdose, build on the President's $1.1 billion funding to provide assistance to Americans suffering from opioid use disorder who want treatment.
"Today's actions represent further steps to expand access to treatment, prevent overdose deaths and increase community prevention strategies," the White House said in a statement.
To expand access to treatment, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will issue a proposed rule to raise the current patient limits for qualified doctors who give prescription for buprenorphine as treatment for opioid use disorder from 100 to 200.
The department will also release guidance to programs that would give intravenous drug addicts chances to have their dirty syringes traded for clean ones to prevent diseases.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), on the other hand, will release a new funding opportunity for a maximum of 11 states that would expand their existing medication-assisted treatment services.
SAMHSA will likewise distribute guides and checklists for prescribing treatment for opioid use disorder. The agency will release a new funding for states to purchase and distribute opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone as well and to provide training on how this drug is used.
This month, several U.S. agencies have already issued rules and guidelines for painkillers.
In its new guidelines, the CDC said that doctors should not prescribe prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin as first treatment for common ailments such as arthritis and back pain.
"It has become increasingly clear that opioids carry substantial risk but only uncertain benefits - especially compared with other treatments for chronic pain," CDC director Thomas Frieden said.
Prescription painkillers are now also required to have a "black box warning" to caution users about the risk of addiction and death from use of these medications.