Buprenorphine could save thousands more lives than it does—if it weren’t for legal barriers, a fear of disruptive patients, and insurance red tape. And it can be prescribed in the primary care physician’s office.
Demand for mental health services outstrips the supply of psychiatrists. Aggravating the situation: Many psychiatrists don’t take insurance. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are beginning to fill the gap.
Insurers are playing ‘small ball’ and not showing leadership, says the former congressman. And some ‘spin-dry’ inpatient providers are doing more harm than good in combating the opioid epidemic. Meanwhile, Kennedy, who chronicled his own harrowing mental health and addiction struggles in a 2015 memoir, says he has been sober for more than six years.