Obama’s New Plan to Fight Addiction
President Obama made history as he pledged to institute a groundbreaking plan to combat opioid drug abuse across the nation.
President Obama gave an impassioned speech pledging to institute a new drug plan to combat the rampant opioid addiction that is rapidly seeping through the nation. For his speech, President Obama traveled to West Virginia, a state that is entrenched in an all consuming drug crisis of its own with the highest rate of overdose deaths in the country. He engaged in a much needed dialogue with advocates of addiction support, health care workers, law enforcement agents and policy makers.
From the stage of a packed community center, President Obama took a solid stance on a national issue that is now passed to point of using prescription drug testing and/or a heroin drug test to ferret out instances of abuse. He made it very clear to those listening around the country that it is now impossible to ignore what is happening as he said:
“More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do from motor vehicle crashes. There is no us and them. This is all of us, in every school and every community. And it could be your child. Rather than spending billions of…taxpayer dollars on long prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders, we could save money and get better outcomes by getting treatment to those who need it. This crisis is taking lives. It is destroying families and shattering communities all across the country.”
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Early Show of Support
Much like West Virginia, Massachusetts is battling its own opioid addiction spike with new data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reflecting such as overdose deaths increased from 911 in 2013 to 1,089 in 2014. The conclusive data from 2015 isn’t completed as of yet, but early reports are indicative of a continued rise in opioid related overdoses.
A vocal proponent of more extensive addiction treatment options and as someone who has seen the epidemic first hand in his own state, U.S. Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass, spoke out in support of the new plan. He said, “We must take action to immediately slow the prescription drug and heroin epidemic and reduce the number of overdoses that is rising by the day in Massachusetts. We need to bring together science, medicine, law enforcement, families, survivors and public health to implement a comprehensive strategy to address this epidemic. I applaud President Obama for devoting much needed attention to this issue, and I will fight to make sure we devote the federal resources necessary to prevent and treat this crisis that continues to devastate our communities.”
What Does the Plan Entail?
The President’s Memorandum to Federal Department and Agencies will consist of two main components that are thought to be essential to fighting opioid addiction: Prescriber Training and Improving Access to Treatment.
Prescriber training will aid professionals in health care in effectively and appropriately prescribe controlled substances to patients in need. The ultimate goal of this phase of the Presidential Memorandum is to educate health care workers in order to increase responsible opioid distribution in order to curb misuse of prescription drugs.
Of great importance is the pledge to improve access to treatment for prescription drug and heroin abuse. This phase will be vital to waging war against the addiction epidemic as those suffering are in the greatest need of affordable treatment options and access to supportive aftercare programs, to the overdose reversal medication, naxalone, to ensure sobriety is maintained and resources providing support all phases of the lifelong recovery journey.