President’s Commission Recommends Steps for Fighting Opioid Addiction

President’s Commission Recommends Steps for Fighting Opioid Epidemic

In July, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis urged President Trump to declare the nationwide opioid epidemic a national emergency. However, there has been a lack of bold action, and still much more to be done.

Drug overdoses—nearly two-thirds of them from opioids and heroin—killed more than 64,000 Americans last year. This means an over 20% increase since 2015, more than double the number in 2005, and nearly quadruple the number in 2000.

Families and individuals across the United States are demanding that more is done to combat the opioid epidemic and end the devastating consequences of addiction.

Some steps to take, some of which are recommended by the president’s commission, include: saving more lives with increased access to naloxone, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose; treating addicts instead of repeatedly arresting them; funding treatment for those who cannot afford to get help; combating the stigma by educating the public about the psychological effects of addiction; supporting medication-assisted treatment; enforcing mental health parity; teaching pain management without relying too heavily on opioids; and starting young with prevention efforts.

Already, 31 states are participating in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, which offers treatment rather than arrest for addicts who go to the authorities seeking help. More potential steps to take include implementing recovery high schools for at-risk adolescents, whole-family treatment programs and safe injection sites.

Most importantly, the government, authorities and general public must learn to help and save their drug-addicted counterparts rather than judging them or casting them off.

Drug abuse treatment is available. Don’t wait any longer to ask for help.

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