Over the last two years, deaths from drug overdoses in the United States have risen to a higher point than ever before in history. Experts have attributed this increase to various causes, but the most likely is the increase in illicit street opioids like fentanyl and “pink.” Read on to learn more about how you can take action on this urgent issue.
On October 26, President Donald Trump officially declared the opioid crisis a national public health epidemic.
“As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” Trump said of the epidemic, which many health experts estimate leads to roughly 100 deaths each day in the United States. “It is time to liberate our communities from the scourge of drug addiction. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”
The president had announced plans to declare a national emergency in August but stalled on official announcements in recent months. According to materials released by the White House, there are several key components to the new federal plan:
- Over the next 90 days, and possibly longer, the Department of Health and Human Services will allocate its emergency funds and resources to preventing opioid overdose deaths
- The administration will waive an old policy that kept Medicare funds out of recovery facilities with more than 16 substance abuse spots, which should help to make addiction recovery accessible to more people
- State and local governments will receive more funding for telemedicine efforts, which will bring sophisticated health consultation to rural areas which have been hardest hit by the epidemic
- In the future, the federal government may file suit against pharmaceutical companies that have allowed opioid painkillers to reach the black market and doctors who over-prescribe opiates
Money for these efforts will be syphoned off other federal public health programs or requested in the yearly Congressional budget. New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who chaired a White House commission tasked with addressing the issue, will review the group’s recommendations over the next few weeks.
An Inadequate Solution
Public health officials across the country expressed gratefulness to the White House for bringing more attention to the growing magnitude of the crisis. However, many experts and Congressional leaders denounced the president’s efforts, saying that they do not provide enough funds to make a genuine impact on such a serious issue.
While victims of natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires receive immediate funds from the federal Disaster Relief Fund, President Trump stopped short of declaring a full national state of emergency, which would make those funds accessible. Many first responders had hoped to receive more funding for doses of naloxone, an opiate antidote that has shown great promise in the field, and state and local officials had demanded more support for mental health awareness and care, which is strongly connected to addiction in many cases.
The opioid crisis has affected millions of Americans, many of whom have never dealt with the struggles of addiction or the effects it can have on families. If you know someone who is dealing with an opioid addiction and are unsure how to help them, there are resources available. CARUS Recovery has helped many individuals and families address the hurts of the past and move forward into a brighter future. Call us today at 877-225-7774 to learn more about our drug and alcohol rehab center in Los Angeles.