White House commission declares war on opioid addiction

In just 15 years between 1999 and 2015 a staggering 560,000 people in U.S. died of drug overdoses. Many deaths were linked to prescription drugs, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.
By James Carlin | Aug 04, 2017
The White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released its interim report Monday, saying that opioid addiction has become a national crisis and urging President Trump to declare a national emergency to address the epidemic.

"Your declaration would empower your Cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the executive branch even further to deal with this loss of life," wrote the Commission, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: If this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will."

The commission, which was created in March, is headed by Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

In just 15 years between 1999 and 2015 a staggering 560,000 people in U.S. died of drug overdoses. Many deaths were linked to prescription drugs, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.

The commission offered several interim recommendations, including more treatment options, educating prescribers, increasing funding for law enforcement to fight illegal trafficking of fentanyl, and making it easier to access the life-saving drug naloxone, which has been shown to reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs at the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance in New York, said he welcomed the commission's recommendations, but added that they failed to address the continued criminalization of people suffering from opioid addiction.

"The reality is that law enforcement, in a number of places around the country, are increasingly turning toward measures that re-criminalize overdose," said Smith, in the Times report. " This is the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed if we're really going to make lasting progress in reducing demand for substances and reducing barriers to treatment and other services and ending the opioid crisis."

---

Have something to say? Let us know in the comments section or send an email to the author. You can share ideas for stories by contacting us here.

Comments
Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic.