WHEREAS, opiate addiction has a high prevalence in the City and County of San Francisco, with an estimated 13,000 to 15,000 persons who are actively using heroin; and,
WHEREAS, opiate addiction is a medical condition often complicated by multiple concurrent illnesses; and,
WHEREAS, the rate of heroin-related hospital admissions and heroin-related deaths are three times higher in San Francisco than the corresponding California State's averages; and,
WHEREAS, compared with untreated persons with opiate addiction, those persons treated with methadone achieve a variety of improved health outcomes, such as better survival and better pregnancy outcomes; and,
WHEREAS, compared with untreated persons with opiate addiction, those persons treated with methadone achieve improvements in their employment status and reductions in criminal activity; and,
WHEREAS, additional pharmacologic agents that are effective for the treatment of opiate addiction are being discovered and developed; and,
WHEREAS, current laws and regulations impose substantial restrictions on methadone administration; and,
WHEREAS, the National Institute of Health Consensus Statement on Effective Medical Treatment of Opiate Addiction recommends that current laws and regulations be revised to eliminate the extra regulation on methadone compared with other medications in its class, and strongly urges that policy makers recognize that providing methadone maintenance therapy is cost-effective, compassionate and provides an important health benefit; and,
WHEREAS, the National Institute of Health Consensus Statement also indicates that one barrier to access to methadone treatment is the shortage of physicians prepared to provide treatment for opiate dependence; and,
WHEREAS, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Resolution #56-98 directing the San Francisco Department of Health to apply for a waiver of existing regulations to allow physicians full discretion to treat addiction through prescription methadone; and,
WHEREAS, the Department of Public Health convened the Physician Prescription of Methadone Working Group which developed program recommendations for the Health Commission and Board of Supervisors to consider; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the City and County of San Francisco Health Commission supporting the concept and further development of a San Francisco program for office-based physician prescription of methadone and other effective pharmacologic agents for the treatment of opiate addiction.
I hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was adopted by the San Francisco Health Commission at its meeting of Tuesday, July 6, 1999.
Sandy Ouye Mori, Executive Secretary to the Health Commission