Opioid Commission calls for declaration of emergency for opioid crisis

WASHINGTON — The president’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis on Monday issued a draft of its report to the president, in which it lays out potential ways to combat the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and misuse. At the top of the commission’s list is their push to get President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency under the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.

“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks,” the report said. “After September 11th, our President and our nation banded together to use every tool at our disposal to prevent any further American deaths. Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life.”

The commission also recommended an increase in treatment capacity in all the states, mandate prescriber education initiatives and require all Drug Enforcement Administration registrants take a course in pain treatment. Additionally, the commission recommended providing federal funding and technical supports to grow interstate sharing of data from state prescription drug monitoring programs, as well as ensuring federal healthcare systems participate in this data sharing.

National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson, in light of the new report, has called for a “national curiosity” around the problem.

“Whatever policy changes are ultimately made — with the active engagement of the pharmacy community and with diverse stakeholders — we are urging that they be pursued with a new level of national curiosity that gets to the essence of these complex issues like never before,” Anderson said. “Many amazing minds have applied their wisdom and experience to addiction and abuse issues over the course of many years. However, I think many observers would agree that our nation has not yet completely applied the curiosity necessary to transcend what is politically possible to arrive at deeper and more comprehensive solutions.”

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