Blog - Latest News

Blog # 1

Written by Mark W. Parrino, AATOD President
December 6, 2012

This represents our first blog. More will follow based on initial responses. You are free to make comments, which can be added to our website. This represents a slightly more informal way of communicating what AATOD is doing in representing the collective interests of our field. AATOD released its most current Five Year Plan in 2012. Three of the most prominent issues affecting the existing system and the future of or field are Health Care Reform; work with the Criminal Justice System; and prescription opioid use and addiction.

Health Care Reform
We continue to work with our associates who comprise the Coalition for Whole Health and the Legal Action Center in preparing for the implementation to Health Care Reform in 2014. There are concerns about impediments to getting reimbursement for Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction through OTPs and DATA 2000 practices. At the present time and according to SAMHSA data, there are approximately 310,000 patients in OTPs, with the majority (300,000) utilizing methadone. It is estimated that there are over 350,000 patients receiving buprenorphine through DATA 2000 waived practices in the US. This number varies depending on the source of data.

We are also working with individual states through Board member chapters of AATOD to improve access to care through Medicaid reimbursement at the state level. This is especially challenging for a number of states given restrictive state budgets. It is tragic that individuals who are making laws in state legislatures have not read the basic information, which provides a foundation of how we provide treatment to chronic opioid addicted individuals through OTPs and DATA 2000 practices.

Criminal Justice System
AATOD is also working with partners in the Criminal Justice system, as articulated in AATOD’s 2012-2016 Five Year Plan. We understand that there are shifting attitudes towards the use of various medications in the Criminal Justice system. There are a number of educational initiatives that are designed to counter such issues and we are grateful for the publication of a groundbreaking report by the Legal Action Center concerning the “Legality of Denying Access to Medication Assisted Treatment in the Criminal Justice System and the recently published RSAT (Residential Substance Abuse Treatment) Training Tool “Medication Assisted Treatment for Offender Populations”(Bureau of Justice Assistance, DOJ).

The Power of Patient Recovery
From our point of view, it is critical to work with patient advocates and families of patient advocates in educating legislative bodies and the public about what we do. While we have extremely powerful data to support our work, it may also come down to the emotional stories of patients and their families. One experience that comes to mind occurred during a hearing about the use of methadone maintenance treatment in Maine in 1995. From my memory, the most influential presentation came from someone who was not on the hearing docket. A woman rose from the audience and asked if she could be heard. At that point, there were two methadone detoxification programs in Bangor, Maine. The hearing was to determine if such programs were to be given maintenance status and the result would lead to opening additional facilities in the future to respond to the needs of patients. The woman was extremely clear. She was married to a patient in one of the two detox programs. Her husband was a fisherman and had been in treatment for several months. She explained to the panel that her two young daughters had new clothes as a result of the fact that money was being saved for the first time in many years. The apartment was clean and there was food in the refrigerator. Her request of the hearing panel was to ask if they could find a way to allow people like her husband to remain in treatment as long as he benefited from such care.

As legislators and regulatory officials continue to challenge the use of Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction, this kind of story needs to be told by patients and their families in different states.

If these challenges are not forcefully made, we will lose the struggle of being able to provide access to Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction. While the promise of Health Care Reform is great, we must be careful not to let other parties undermine the very point of increasing access to care for millions of Americans who desperately need treatment.

Mark W. Parrino, M.P.A.

Mark W. Parrino, M.P.A.
AATOD President

7 replies
  1. Trusandra Taylor, MD, FASAM, MPH
    Trusandra Taylor, MD, FASAM, MPH says:

    Thank you for this additional mechanism for communication. As evident in other aspects of our society today, involvement with social media has become an ever increasing influence for social change and innovation.

    I look forward to following this blog in the future and interesting developments.

    Trusandra Taylor, MD, FASAM, MPH

    Reply
  2. Zac Talbott, Director | NAMA Recovery TN
    Zac Talbott, Director | NAMA Recovery TN says:

    Thank you for this blog. I think the power of personal experiences & testimony from patients and their friends & family are extremely important in putting the “human face” on the successes and life-restoring possibilities associated with medication-assisted treatment. As you attest above, often these personal testimonies go far beyond the 45+ years of research and data that we would think make our case extremely strong & clear. That’s not always the case, however, so I applaud AATOD’s commitment to working with patient advocates as well as their friends and families. As NAMA Recovery’s slogan says, “Together we can make a difference!”

    Sincerely yours,
    Zac Talbott
    NAMA Recovery of Tennessee

    Reply
  3. Kevin McNamara
    Kevin McNamara says:

    As a patient on methadone and being sober for 10 years without alcohol pot or even A cigarette I am always writing to my city newspaper and also the Boston Globe or the Boston Herald to refute some story about the negativity of drug abuse and treatment. My clinic did a video on the positive aspects of treatment of methadone after that horrible methadonia on HBO.
    I would have been a writer today had my life turned out differently. At 58 years old I can be a advocate for the positive aspects of treatment. I can also work on my writing. a columnist at the Boston Herald did a column on me and if its to late for me to become a writer….he said its not

    Reply
  4. Paul Bowman
    Paul Bowman says:

    This example of the importance of patient advocates. Treatment success stories are not told very often because of the lack of educating the patients about the disease we have. We need to fund programs like MARS all over the country and even have a patient track of study at AATOD, with SAMHSA or someone helping fund this goal. I applaud AATOD for opening their membership to stakeholders.

    Being able to go to AATOD in Washington D C with the help of CSAT and getting my CMA from NAMA changed my life forever.

    Paul Bowman MAT Patient

    Reply
  5. Paul Bowman
    Paul Bowman says:

    This example of the importance of patient advocates. Treatment success stories are not told very often because of the lack of educating the patients about the disease we have. We need to fund programs like MARS all over the country and even have a patient track of study at AATOD, with SAMHSA or someone helping fund this goal. I applaud AATOD for opening their membership to stakeholders.
    Being able to go to AATOD in Washington D C with the help of CSAT and getting my CMA from NAMA changed my life forever.

    Paul Bowman MAT Patient

    Reply
  6. Jason Crossman
    Jason Crossman says:

    It’s interesting that Vivitrol helps reduce cravings with alcohol and opioids. My brother has struggled with opioid addiction over the last year and my family wants to find a way to get him off it. I’ll be sure to share this with my parents so we can get him the help he needs.

    Reply

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  • TREATING OPIOID USE DISORDER: SO MUCH MORE THAN MEDICATION #aatod2024

TODAY is the last day to take advantage of the discounted registration rate. #aatod2024 is the world’s premier training conference event for the treatment of #OUD.

For registration and hotel information ➡️ bit.ly/3Ue57Q6.

We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!
  • #aatod2024 Conference Update. Comprehensive Listing/Descriptions of Workshops, Posters, and Hot Topic Roundtable Conference Sessions are now available ➡️ http://bit.ly/3Ue57Q6.

The workshop committee is pleased to present a dynamic workshop lineup that includes extremely rich and diverse educational content for all disciplines. You will hear from experts who will share the latest research and developments relating to opioid use disorders and treatment. The workshop lineup will include state of the art information on diverse areas of focus such as patient care and best practices, building community partnerships and collaborations, public policy and regulatory changes, workforce development, quality assurance, and financial reimbursement. There will be workshops that focus on emerging treatment trends and developments such as the fentanyl epidemic, mobile opioid treatment programs, regulatory changes, expansion of treatment services in rural areas, integrating treatment with the corrections systems, and integrating harm reduction initiatives. For those newer to the field or those who want a refresher on the basics, we have once again included a “Foundations” track which will include selections on the fundamentals of medication assisted treatment.

The conference will continue to be the world’s premier training and education event for the treatment of opioid use disorders.  We hope to see you in Las Vegas!
  • Patient access to OTPs saves lives every day.

AATOD has been working with policymakers and regulatory authorities to increase access to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) though the expansion of mobile vans and Medication Assisted Treatment in correctional facilities in the United States. 

Please support AATOD's mission by making an online donation ➡️ https://bit.ly/3uDOeDC #givingtuesday
  • Lev Facher represented a fair reporting of the current #methadone policy debate that took place at last week’s #STATSummit. 

“Mark Parrino, AATOD’s founder and president, cautioned during the panel that achieving sweeping change might not be so easy. The health system, he argued, is unprepared and even unwilling to make methadone a part of primary care. Potential obstacles, he said, include doctors’ lack of enthusiasm about prescribing methadone; pharmacists’ unwillingness to stock and dispense it; and drug manufacturers’ reluctance to manufacture and distribute it more widely, especially following the lawsuits and criticism many have experienced in the wake of the opioid crisis and the prescription opioid oversupply that accelerated it.” #morethanmedicine #opioidusedisorder #OpposetheMOTAA 

Read More ➡️ bit.ly/3tKb1gy
  • Earn up to 6 LADC & LPC CEU’s at 9th Annual OKATOD Conference, which is convening this Thursday, Oct 12th in Oklahoma City. 

This year, the focus turns to the paramount theme of #harmreduction and its profound role in ushering transformative pathways to #recovery.

Registration is now officially open, and you can secure your tickets promptly ➡️ bit.ly/45l3mm1

For more information, please visit www.okatod.org or send an email to a_rios@oktreatment.com.
  • Join OKATOD, one of AATOD’s state chapters, in Oklahoma City on Oct 12 as they convene their ninth annual OKATOD Conference. This year’s theme is HARM REDUCTION: A TRANSFORMATIVE APPROACH. 

Speakers include Mark Parrino (AATOD President), Maia Szalavitz, Teresa Stephensen, Dr. Larry Lovelace, Angela Harnden, Shajine Blake, and Jason Hall. 

Register ➡️ bit.ly/461CkkG
  • Final Opportunity to Submit Proposals for the #aatod2024 Conference. The submission window will close tonight at 12am ET.

To submit a proposal, please follow the on-screen instructions, bit.ly/3KxQSzU. For questions or additional information regarding the Call for Presentations, please send an email to meetings@aatod.org or call 856-423-3091.

We look forward to receiving your submissions and hope to see you at the conference for what will be the premier conference on the treatment of opioid use disorders in 2024! #morethanmedicine #programnotapill #opioids #OUD #OpioidUseDisorder #submitproposal
  • Today is the Final Day to Submit Proposals for the #aatod2024 conference, 9/21 ➡️ bit.ly/3KxQSzU

The Workshop Committee encourages you to submit proposals on innovative initiatives to enhance patient outcomes, improve program development and administration, promote integration across the continuum of care, and the development of collaborations with organizations outside of the traditional opioid treatment system.

Conference Objectives:
1️⃣Conduct a comprehensive review of the latest evidence addressing the opioid epidemic and its implications for patients, clinicians, administrators, and policy makers by identifying the most effective interventions.
2️⃣Discuss peer to peer approaches in treating opioid use disorder in an effort to improve patient outcomes in health systems, organizations, and communities.
3️⃣Evaluate the gaps in current services for opioid use disorder and develop recommendations to improve the delivery of multidisciplinary care in various populations based upon evidence-based practices.
4️⃣Disseminate a comprehensive plan of innovative services designed to treat emerging needs of patients with opioid use disorder and improve patient outcomes by providing examples of effective methods and how to implement them.
5️⃣Identify effective referral pathways to other health services offering treatment for conditions associated with opioid use disorder addiction and/or recovery by developing partnerships within the community.
  • We are pleased to announce that the deadline for submitting presentations for the #aatod2024 Conference has been extended to Thursday, September 21, 2023.

We encourage all interested parties to take advantage of this opportunity and submit their proposals as soon as possible. We look forward to receiving your proposals and to seeing you in Las Vegas in 2024. 

https://conta.cc/3PiV5ck
  • August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day 
💜 #IOAD2023 
💜 #NaloxoneSavesLives 
💜 #EndOverdoseNow

Please contact your State Opioid Treatment Authority for locations in your community that distribute naloxone kits —> bit.ly/3qVPOPz. 

 Full Video 🎥 bit.ly/3ElzdYD
TREATING OPIOID USE DISORDER: SO MUCH MORE THAN MEDICATION #aatod2024

TODAY is the last day to take advantage of the discounted registration rate. #aatod2024 is the world’s premier training conference event for the treatment of #OUD.

For registration and hotel information ➡️ bit.ly/3Ue57Q6.

We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!
TREATING OPIOID USE DISORDER: SO MUCH MORE THAN MEDICATION #aatod2024 TODAY is the last day to take advantage of the discounted registration rate. #aatod2024 is the world’s premier training conference event for the treatment of #OUD. For registration and hotel information ➡️ bit.ly/3Ue57Q6. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!
3 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
1/10
#aatod2024 Conference Update. Comprehensive Listing/Descriptions of Workshops, Posters, and Hot Topic Roundtable Conference Sessions are now available ➡️ http://bit.ly/3Ue57Q6.

The workshop committee is pleased to present a dynamic workshop lineup that includes extremely rich and diverse educational content for all disciplines. You will hear from experts who will share the latest research and developments relating to opioid use disorders and treatment. The workshop lineup will include state of the art information on diverse areas of focus such as patient care and best practices, building community partnerships and collaborations, public policy and regulatory changes, workforce development, quality assurance, and financial reimbursement. There will be workshops that focus on emerging treatment trends and developments such as the fentanyl epidemic, mobile opioid treatment programs, regulatory changes, expansion of treatment services in rural areas, integrating treatment with the corrections systems, and integrating harm reduction initiatives. For those newer to the field or those who want a refresher on the basics, we have once again included a “Foundations” track which will include selections on the fundamentals of medication assisted treatment.

The conference will continue to be the world’s premier training and education event for the treatment of opioid use disorders.  We hope to see you in Las Vegas!
#aatod2024 Conference Update. Comprehensive Listing/Descriptions of Workshops, Posters, and Hot Topic Roundtable Conference Sessions are now available ➡️ http://bit.ly/3Ue57Q6. The workshop committee is pleased to present a dynamic workshop lineup that includes extremely rich and diverse educational content for all disciplines. You will hear from experts who will share the latest research and developments relating to opioid use disorders and treatment. The workshop lineup will include state of the art information on diverse areas of focus such as patient care and best practices, building community partnerships and collaborations, public policy and regulatory changes, workforce development, quality assurance, and financial reimbursement. There will be workshops that focus on emerging treatment trends and developments such as the fentanyl epidemic, mobile opioid treatment programs, regulatory changes, expansion of treatment services in rural areas, integrating treatment with the corrections systems, and integrating harm reduction initiatives. For those newer to the field or those who want a refresher on the basics, we have once again included a “Foundations” track which will include selections on the fundamentals of medication assisted treatment. The conference will continue to be the world’s premier training and education event for the treatment of opioid use disorders. We hope to see you in Las Vegas!
4 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
2/10
Patient access to OTPs saves lives every day.

AATOD has been working with policymakers and regulatory authorities to increase access to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) though the expansion of mobile vans and Medication Assisted Treatment in correctional facilities in the United States. 

Please support AATOD's mission by making an online donation ➡️ https://bit.ly/3uDOeDC #givingtuesday
Patient access to OTPs saves lives every day. AATOD has been working with policymakers and regulatory authorities to increase access to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) though the expansion of mobile vans and Medication Assisted Treatment in correctional facilities in the United States. Please support AATOD's mission by making an online donation ➡️ https://bit.ly/3uDOeDC #givingtuesday
3 months ago
View on Instagram |
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Lev Facher represented a fair reporting of the current #methadone policy debate that took place at last week’s #STATSummit. 

“Mark Parrino, AATOD’s founder and president, cautioned during the panel that achieving sweeping change might not be so easy. The health system, he argued, is unprepared and even unwilling to make methadone a part of primary care. Potential obstacles, he said, include doctors’ lack of enthusiasm about prescribing methadone; pharmacists’ unwillingness to stock and dispense it; and drug manufacturers’ reluctance to manufacture and distribute it more widely, especially following the lawsuits and criticism many have experienced in the wake of the opioid crisis and the prescription opioid oversupply that accelerated it.” #morethanmedicine #opioidusedisorder #OpposetheMOTAA 

Read More ➡️ bit.ly/3tKb1gy
Lev Facher represented a fair reporting of the current #methadone policy debate that took place at last week’s #STATSummit. “Mark Parrino, AATOD’s founder and president, cautioned during the panel that achieving sweeping change might not be so easy. The health system, he argued, is unprepared and even unwilling to make methadone a part of primary care. Potential obstacles, he said, include doctors’ lack of enthusiasm about prescribing methadone; pharmacists’ unwillingness to stock and dispense it; and drug manufacturers’ reluctance to manufacture and distribute it more widely, especially following the lawsuits and criticism many have experienced in the wake of the opioid crisis and the prescription opioid oversupply that accelerated it.” #morethanmedicine #opioidusedisorder #OpposetheMOTAA Read More ➡️ bit.ly/3tKb1gy
4 months ago
View on Instagram |
4/10
Earn up to 6 LADC & LPC CEU’s at 9th Annual OKATOD Conference, which is convening this Thursday, Oct 12th in Oklahoma City. 

This year, the focus turns to the paramount theme of #harmreduction and its profound role in ushering transformative pathways to #recovery.

Registration is now officially open, and you can secure your tickets promptly ➡️ bit.ly/45l3mm1

For more information, please visit www.okatod.org or send an email to a_rios@oktreatment.com.
Earn up to 6 LADC & LPC CEU’s at 9th Annual OKATOD Conference, which is convening this Thursday, Oct 12th in Oklahoma City. 

This year, the focus turns to the paramount theme of #harmreduction and its profound role in ushering transformative pathways to #recovery.

Registration is now officially open, and you can secure your tickets promptly ➡️ bit.ly/45l3mm1

For more information, please visit www.okatod.org or send an email to a_rios@oktreatment.com.
Earn up to 6 LADC & LPC CEU’s at 9th Annual OKATOD Conference, which is convening this Thursday, Oct 12th in Oklahoma City. This year, the focus turns to the paramount theme of #harmreduction and its profound role in ushering transformative pathways to #recovery. Registration is now officially open, and you can secure your tickets promptly ➡️ bit.ly/45l3mm1 For more information, please visit www.okatod.org or send an email to a_rios@oktreatment.com.
5 months ago
View on Instagram |
5/10
Join OKATOD, one of AATOD’s state chapters, in Oklahoma City on Oct 12 as they convene their ninth annual OKATOD Conference. This year’s theme is HARM REDUCTION: A TRANSFORMATIVE APPROACH. 

Speakers include Mark Parrino (AATOD President), Maia Szalavitz, Teresa Stephensen, Dr. Larry Lovelace, Angela Harnden, Shajine Blake, and Jason Hall. 

Register ➡️ bit.ly/461CkkG
Join OKATOD, one of AATOD’s state chapters, in Oklahoma City on Oct 12 as they convene their ninth annual OKATOD Conference. This year’s theme is HARM REDUCTION: A TRANSFORMATIVE APPROACH. Speakers include Mark Parrino (AATOD President), Maia Szalavitz, Teresa Stephensen, Dr. Larry Lovelace, Angela Harnden, Shajine Blake, and Jason Hall. Register ➡️ bit.ly/461CkkG
5 months ago
View on Instagram |
6/10
Final Opportunity to Submit Proposals for the #aatod2024 Conference. The submission window will close tonight at 12am ET. To submit a proposal, please follow the on-screen instructions, bit.ly/3KxQSzU. For questions or additional information regarding the Call for Presentations, please send an email to meetings@aatod.org or call 856-423-3091. We look forward to receiving your submissions and hope to see you at the conference for what will be the premier conference on the treatment of opioid use disorders in 2024! #morethanmedicine #programnotapill #opioids #OUD #OpioidUseDisorder #submitproposal
5 months ago
View on Instagram |
7/10
Today is the Final Day to Submit Proposals for the #aatod2024 conference, 9/21 ➡️ bit.ly/3KxQSzU The Workshop Committee encourages you to submit proposals on innovative initiatives to enhance patient outcomes, improve program development and administration, promote integration across the continuum of care, and the development of collaborations with organizations outside of the traditional opioid treatment system. Conference Objectives: 1️⃣Conduct a comprehensive review of the latest evidence addressing the opioid epidemic and its implications for patients, clinicians, administrators, and policy makers by identifying the most effective interventions. 2️⃣Discuss peer to peer approaches in treating opioid use disorder in an effort to improve patient outcomes in health systems, organizations, and communities. 3️⃣Evaluate the gaps in current services for opioid use disorder and develop recommendations to improve the delivery of multidisciplinary care in various populations based upon evidence-based practices. 4️⃣Disseminate a comprehensive plan of innovative services designed to treat emerging needs of patients with opioid use disorder and improve patient outcomes by providing examples of effective methods and how to implement them. 5️⃣Identify effective referral pathways to other health services offering treatment for conditions associated with opioid use disorder addiction and/or recovery by developing partnerships within the community.
5 months ago
View on Instagram |
8/10
We are pleased to announce that the deadline for submitting presentations for the #aatod2024 Conference has been extended to Thursday, September 21, 2023. We encourage all interested parties to take advantage of this opportunity and submit their proposals as soon as possible. We look forward to receiving your proposals and to seeing you in Las Vegas in 2024. https://conta.cc/3PiV5ck
5 months ago
View on Instagram |
9/10
August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day 💜 #IOAD2023 💜 #NaloxoneSavesLives 💜 #EndOverdoseNow Please contact your State Opioid Treatment Authority for locations in your community that distribute naloxone kits —> bit.ly/3qVPOPz. Full Video 🎥 bit.ly/3ElzdYD
6 months ago
View on Instagram |
10/10

Announcing groundbreaking updates: HHS/SAMHSA's new regulations mark a significant step forward for opioid treatment programs. Fostering enhanced accessibility, flexibility and patient dignity. Gratitude to @@AATOD1984 for their pivotal role in this progress. #OpioidTreatment

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