Days before passing on the baton of the presidency to President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama could not stop himself from talking about the severity of the opioid crisis gripping the United States in his commentary on the president’s role in bringing criminal justice reform.
In an article published in the Harvard Law Review, the former President drew a clear line between the raging opioid epidemic in America and the trend of prescription painkillers. He recognized how the increased availability of prescription painkillers has fueled the health crisis. He also acknowledged that opioid use disorder is a disease that has a devastating effect on families and strains the capacity of law enforcement agencies and the existing health care system.
Each year, more Americans die from drug overdose than from traffic accidents. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration., U.S. Department of Justice, 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, more than three of five of these deaths involved an opioid.
As per the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2000-2014, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sale of prescription opioid medications has quadrupled since 1999. While their prescription and use has increased, so has their misuse. In addition to an increase in the prescription painkillers, the nation has also witnessed an increase in heroin use. The dramatic rise in heroin use is attributed to the misuse of prescription drugs. As per data by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), every four out of five new heroin users started by misusing prescription drugs and then transitioned to heroin.
Steps to tackle the crisis
The former President had highlighted the efforts by his administration in tackling the drug crisis. Some of the steps were taken by funding networks of law enforcement and public health partnerships to address the heroin epidemic, illegal heroin trafficking and prescription opioids and illegal opioid supply chain.
One of the most important steps taken in the direction was the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act in December 2016. It is regarded as a major step towards combating opioid epidemic, funding public health programs and advancing cancer treatment programs. The law provides $1 billion over two years for opioid treatment and prevention.
The commentary by the former President said that the solution to the opioid problem involved recognizing the epidemic as a public health problem that requires a public health response. According to health experts, the first step in tackling the opioid epidemic would be to recognize it as a public health issue and the second step would be to help the affected gain access to comprehensive treatment plans.
The administration has also encouraged health care providers to provide more evidence-based treatments such as medication-assisted treatment to patients and provided first responders tools such as access to the opioid reversal drug to help them respond to the opioid crisis. Other ways of combating the problem are national take-back programs held throughout the nation that provides people with a safe and responsible way to dispose of the unused and expired prescription drugs.
The former President suggested that to combat the opioid epidemic it was important to put all the resources to work so that people requiring the treatment get proper access to it and start their road to recovery.
Road to recovery
As per the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) by the CDC, in 2015, drug overdose was the primary cause of deaths of more than 52,000 Americans, of which more than 33,000 deaths involved illicit opioids.
If you know someone who is abusing prescription or illicit drugs and requires help, contact the Florida Detox Helpline and let us help you find various detox facilities in Florida. Call us at our 24/7 helpline 855-920-9869 or chat online with our experts to find one of the best Florida detox centers.