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Addressing the Opioid Crisis

bottle of morphine

This week, President Trump signed an executive order outlining his administration’s goal to combat the opioid epidemic that is spreading like wildfire across the nation.

According to the PBS NewsHour, The new executive order has the following goals:

1. Identify existing federal dollars to combat drug addiction, including opioids;
2. Assess availability and access to addiction treatment centers and overdose reversal and identify underserved areas;
3. Measure the effectiveness of state prescription drug monitoring programs;
4. Evaluate public messaging campaigns about prescription and illegal opioids, and identify best practices for drug prevention.

The new commission will be headed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

While the response to the president’s Opioid Commission has been at best mixed, I am glad that something is being done at the national level to address this crisis.

As we know too well here in Connecticut, people have been dying left and right from heroin and other opioids recently, even despite the use of naloxone by emergency first responders and community members. And fentanyl, which dealers lace heroin with in order to create a better “high”, is instead just killing people due to its potency. And given our own state’s budget crisis, it is going to be that much more challenging to provide the necessary treatment and support services to those who need them.

Addiction is a terrible illness, wreaking havoc on the bodies and minds of those who suffer from it, as well as their friends, families and communities as a whole. If we are going to effectively combat this problem, we are going to need intervention at every level to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect ourselves and those we love who are impacted by addiction.

That being said, as mental health advocates, we are particularly well positioned to be an important part of this process. So far the president’s two major initiatives (healthcare & immigration reform) have both failed – sad. A large part of those failures was due to political will in opposition to him and his agenda. As much as I fundamentally disagree with this administration on just about everything, this initiative one which is too important to get lost in partisan shenanigans to allow to fail. If there are weaknesses in the current plan (which I’m sure there will be) we need to work to identify and then rectify them without defeating the effort altogether. Now is the time for the nation to come together to work out a comprehensive plan for how to stop this epidemic in its tracks before it spreads any further. Because too many lives are at stake and every life lost is one too many.

2 Replies to “Addressing the Opioid Crisis”

  1. Ptsdwifey says:

    Thank you Brian for sharing this informative post. My husband was inadvertently addicted to opiate medications and his pain management Physicians just kept increasing his medications over four years. He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2015 and the opiate meds made his symptoms so much worse. After months of therapy, he found a primary care Doctor who has helped him come entirely off these kinds of medications! I would love to share your post on my blog http://www.ptsdwifey.com with your permission. And would be happy to share a post with you that you can share on your blog if interested. Please email me at ptsdwifey@gmail.com either way. Thank you again!

  2. bgayTurningPoint says:

    I’m so sorry I missed your response before. Please feel free to share any of my content and I’d be happy to share your relevant content as well. From what I hear, so many people today with an Opiate Use Disorder started having issues due to a medication which was prescribed to them. And the fact that the corporations who manufactured these medications may have understood the risk and peddled them anyway – don’t even get me started… Meanwhile I’m so glad to hear that your husband was able to find a medication that enabled him to get off of the opiates which were causing him problems. That’s what we hope for!

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