C-SPAN presented an in-depth look at the growing opioid epidemic this past week. The two-hour long program included insight and commentary from governors, health care officials, people in recovery, as well as President Trump himself.
This is an issue that is obviously very important to us as a leader in the treatment field and if you have the time to watch or even just skim through it, we highly recommend it. Here we’ve outlined some of the major points. As always we encourage you to join in the conversation on our Facebook page. One of the many ways we can work together as a country to address the issue of the opioid epidemic is by talking about it.
Many states have been gravely affected by what is being referred to as the opioid epidemic. What is most surprising is how heroin (and fentanyl) have gone from being an issue rooted in urban city areas to spreading across into more rural areas. States such as Maryland have seen a major increase in drug use and overdose rates. Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland touches on the states’ efforts in addressing the epidemic such as creating a special task force. He goes on to list the the recommendations that were also implemented from providing education and prevention programs and even took it one step further by toughening up their laws and increasing access to treatment beds.
“No parent should have to bury their child. No parent should have to wander. No one should have to go through this. This is something that can be dealt with.” – Pam Garozzo, mother of a man who died of drug overdose.
In Kentucky, John Tilley, Justice and Public Safety Secretary, has put many initiatives in motion including prescription drug monitoring, syringe exchange, alternate sentencing, as well as MAT and counseling programs for people coming out of the prison system.
These aren’t the only two states making swift changes. It’s happening all over the country and despite their efforts, much remains to be done. Maybe it’s something that will take more time to figure out but the lack of progress is not encouraging. This is an all hands on deck issue. Governor Hogan stated that it really needs to be a joint effort. That we need to bring together our federal, state, local communities. And getting even more granular, bring it to the community organizations, faith-based organizations and right down to the families.
“Addiction is a disease and it’s a disease that can be treated.” – Chris Christie
Chris Christie and President Trump met with a group of recovering addicts at the White House, as they shared their experiences with addiction. Some had experienced it firsthand and one woman was a mother of a young man who died of a drug overdose despite several treatment attempts.
President Trump spoke out just last week, declaring the opioid crisis an national emergency. When asked about the plan he touched on prevention, increasing law enforcement, and watching our southern border. A definitive plan has yet to be drafted but he did say that the administration is prepared to make the opioid epidemic a top priority.