America knows all too well the devastation of opioid addiction. With an overdose outbreak that has been progressively damaging and related death rates becoming increasingly alarming, we have reached new depths of drug-induced desperation. Therefore, the news from the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is not all that shocking. The panel charged with examining the nation’s opioid epidemic is now urging the President to declare a national public health emergency to combat the ongoing crisis.
When we look at the history of American presidents announcing a ‘state of emergency’ it typically has to do with national security, foreign policy and war, or natural disasters and viral illness. So, to put the issue of addiction up next to these drastic calls to action might just bring a new level of intensity to battling opioid addiction in America.
American overdose deaths involving opioids have quadrupled since 1999. From 2000 to 2015, more than 500,000 people died of drug overdoses. The majority of these overdose deaths have opioids involved.
In America, drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined.
Opioid Commission Calls for Action
The Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was enlisted as the chair of the opioid commission back in March. The opioid commission also includes:
- Democrat Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina
- Former Democratic Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island
- Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts
At the time the commission was created Chris Christie said the idea behind the administration’s new approach to fighting addiction would focus a lot on assisting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This week the opioid commission’s statement calling for the President’s immediate action states:
“Our citizens are dying. We must act boldly to stop it. The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency.”
While insisting that the administration put forth an emergency declaration, the specially appointed opioid commission said that Trump is the-
“-only person who can bring this type of intensity to the emergency and we believe you have the will to do so and to do so immediately.”
The opioid commission was deliberate in the details, acknowledging that with 142 Americans dying every day from drug overdoses-
“America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
When you think about it in this context, the statistics become even more startling and horrifying. The fact that so many men, women and even children in America are losing their lives to drugs like heroin and prescription pain medication. The opioid commission went on to say:
“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,”
“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.”
In the last few months there has been some waves of criticism against the opioid commission after missing two deadlines to release this report in June and July. Now that the report is finally here, what can be done to address the concerns the opioid commission brings with it?
Will the White House Take Action?
According to initial reports the White House intends to “immediately” review the recommendations of the opioid commission. In the statement from the White House:
“The opioid crisis is a tragedy that has been harming America’s communities for far too long. We appreciate the Commission’s hard work on this important interim report. We will immediately begin reviewing its recommendations, and eagerly await its final report.”
The final report from the opioid commission is expected to be submitted during October. Still, many are hoping the Trump administration does not wait that long to start planning for a response.
The opioid commission made many recommendations in the interim report for efforts to curb the opioid epidemic and the increasingly high death rates. Those recommendations include:
- Rapidly increase treatment capacity for those who need substance abuse help
- Establish and fund better access to medication-assisted treatment programs
- Make sure that health care providers are aware of the potential for misuse and abuse of prescription opioids by enhancing prevention efforts at medical and dental schools
- Equipping all law enforcement in the United States with naloxone to save lives
Naloxone is the opioid overdose antidote used by first responders to save people overdose victims. So far access to Naloxone and Narcan, the name brand, has expanded, but many think not nearly enough.
With the fight for healthcare in Congress seeming to hit every rough patch possible on the road to settling on legislation, people are already worried about how coverage may or may not change for tens of millions of Americans. So the concern for how to face a growing addiction problem while simultaneously afflicted with a potential healthcare crisis is very real for a lot of people.
Time will tell if the Trump administration acts on the suggestion to declare a state of emergency to call more action toward the opioid epidemic. And if they do declare it, what will change?
Palm Healthcare Company Offering Holistic Health
While Palm Healthcare Company is not qualified to fix all the problems in politics, we do believe in providing quality care to as many men and women struggling as possible. Palm Healthcare Company facilities create a safe, comfortable and effective environment to experience powerful and life-changing courses and treatments focused on holistic health.
While the opioid epidemic may not be an easy issue to solve, Palm Healthcare Company believes in helping those who have suffered from addiction to opioids and/or other drugs find a new way and a second chance. With medical detox, personalized inpatient and outpatient treatment options and aftercare opportunities such as Recovery Coaching, Palm Healthcare Company wants to support every part of your journey.
Overcoming the opioid epidemic means helping those who have suffered heal.