While many have criticized Donald Trump’s reaction to the opioid crisis, one point he brought up certainly deserves further examination, what’s called “telemedicine,” or how people suffering from addiction can get access to medicine and help through apps and other technology.
Of course, apps and virtual meetings can help a lot of people in rural areas when they can’t get to a meeting, or get quick access to medicine. As Gov Tech reports, for telemedicine to expand, it will have some hurdles to get over, including the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, which was passed in 2008. This act was set up to protect patients from what Gov Tech called “inappropriate prescribing by shady internet pharmacies,” but it has also caused problems where doctors can’t prescribe patients in need without seeing them in-person first.
There is an organization called The American Telemedicine Association that is asking the DEA to take away the in-person requirement, so patients can be prescribed medicine after a video meeting with a doctor. The president of the American Telemedicine Association says, “This was one of those unexpected consequences from a law that was not very well written nine years ago. Every year since we’ve been trying to get the waiver.”
Of course, technology in treating people who suffer from addiction has come a long way since then as well, but in trying to modify this law, the DEA has been slow. As Gov Tech adds, rural areas, and the rest of the country, could benefit greatly from telemedicine because “with more than 2.5 million Americans who abuse opioids, there simply aren’t enough clinics to provide the necessary treatment.”
A new app in development that could help a lot of people around the country called emocha can monitor patients suffering from opioid addiction, and make sure they’re taking their meds, like buprenorphine, and they can also use it to report problems to their doctors as well.
For more information and to get the help you need now, contact The Detox Center of Los Angeles for a free assessment of your symptoms as well as your insurance benefits and coverage.