Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ramp Up the Fight against Opioid Abuse President Trump's New Intiative Will Help Us Turn Back the Worst Epidemic in American History

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ramp Up the Fight against Opioid Abuse President Trump's New Intiative Will Help Us Turn Back the Worst Epidemic in American History

Article excerpt

With his announcement last week of a bold initiative to address the epidemic of opioid abuse, addiction and overdose in the United States, President Donald Trump has brought a new level of urgency to the fight.

As someone with experience at the state level in Rhode Island, where I was engaged in this battle on the front lines, I know how badly this new level of attention and focus is needed.

This is the worst drug crisis in American history, and it has exacted an unfathomable toll on individuals, families and communities.

The agency I run, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has found that, in 2016, more than 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids, nearly 1 million used heroin, and 2.1 million had an opioid-use disorder. Since 2000, more than 300,000 Americans have died of an opioid overdose, and the number continues to increase each year. Drug overdoses in Pennsylvania increased 44 percent from 2015 to 2016, leaving the state with the fourth-highest per-capita rate in the country.

The plan Mr. Trump unveiled last week will address the driving forces behind this epidemic: the over-prescribing of legal opioids, a ready supply of illicit opioids and insufficient access to treatment for addiction.

This last point is crucial and a focus at SAMHSA. Working with state and local jurisdictions, we are taking new steps to improve access to high-quality, evidence-based treatment.

One key tool is medication-assisted treatment combined with psychosocial therapies and community-based recovery support. This is the gold standard for treating opioid addiction, and the science behind it is robust and sound.

But according to SAMHSA's latest data, only about a third of America's specialty substance-abuse treatment programs offer medication-assisted treatment. This is astonishing, given the extensive evidence that this treatment works. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.