Opioid Commission Urges Trump To Declare National State Of Emergency

By Victoria Kim 08/02/17

The commission issued a report with recommendations to increase access to addiction treatment and medication-assisted treatment.

Image: 
Chris Christie
Head of the Opioid Commission Chris Christie Photo via YouTube

After some delay, President Trump's opioid commission finally came out with its interim report on Monday (July 31) in which it urges the administration to "declare a national emergency" to bring attention to the "scourge" that is the opioid epidemic. 

"Our citizens are dying. We must act boldly to stop it," reads the report. "The opioid epidemic we are facing is unparalleled. The average American would likely be shocked to know that drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined."

The President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis was formed in March by executive order. Under the leadership of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the commission was tasked with studying "ways to combat and treat the scourge of drug abuse, addiction, and the opioid crisis." Other members of the commission include Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Patrick Kennedy, and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

The preliminary report lists several recommendations including increasing substance use disorder (SUD) treatment capacity under Medicaid, increasing access to medication-assisted treatments for opioid use disorder such as Suboxone, equipping all law enforcement with the overdose "antidote" naloxone, adding fentanyl detectors to stop flow of the drug into the country and improving prescription drug monitoring programs.

"In 2015, nearly two-thirds of drug overdoses were linked to opioids like Percocet, OxyContin, heroin, and fentanyl," reads the report. "We have an enormous problem that is often not beginning on street corners; it is starting in doctor's offices and hospitals in every state in our nation."

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, the New York Times reported in early June. Preliminary data suggests that drug overdose deaths surpassed 59,000 in 2016, according to the newspaper. There were 52,404 recorded drug overdose deaths in 2015, but the problem has only gotten worse since then.

"This is an epidemic that knows no boundaries and shows no mercy, and we will show great compassion and resolve as we work together on this important issue," said Trump in a statement back in March. "I made a promise to the American people to take action to keep drugs from pouring into our country and to help those who have been so badly affected by them."

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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