WHAT IT IS
- Use of opioid medications and heroin has risen dramatically in the last decade, with an estimated 500 percent rise in the number of people addicted to those drugs in the U.S. from 2010 to 2016.
- The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued an interim report in July that urged Trump to declare the crisis a national emergency.
- In August, Trump called the issue “a serious problem the likes of which we have never had”.
WHY IT MATTERS
Opioid overdoses killed more than 50,000 people in 2016, more people each year than guns or car accidents. Declaring the crisis a national emergency could provide states and federal agencies with millions of dollars and other resources to combat on multiple fronts what many have called an epidemic.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- President Trump said the opioid crisis is a national emergency, but no detailed plan of action has been announced by the White House.
- The Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis made a number of recommendations, including expanding access to treatment, mandating prescriber education, funding to enhance access to MAT programs, and making naloxone more available.
- A final report is expected later this year.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
- Other innovative ideas have been used to combat the opioid crisis, such as the special opioid intervention court in the city of Buffalo and the LEAD Program in Seattle.
- Americans take a lot of opioids, and addiction touches people in all demographics.
- Are pharmaceutical companies at fault for the heroin and opioid crisis?
- Read personal stories, about the extent of the crisis, and an explanation of what it would mean to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.