President Barack Obama joins Macklemore to raise awareness around prescription drug addiction

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Saturday joined Grammy Award-winning artist Macklemore to discuss opioid addiction. Macklemore opened up about his own experience, his life in recovery and the loss of a friend who overdosed on prescription drugs at a young age – emphasizing that substance use disorder affects people from all walks of life.
And Obama shared with the public what his administration and Congress are doing to help address the issue. "I’ve asked Congress to expand access to recovery services and to give first responders the tools they need to treat overdoses before it’s too late," Obama said. "This week, the House passed several bills about opioids – but unless they also make actual investments in more treatment, it won’t get Americans the help they need," he said. "When we talk about opioid abuse as the public health problem it is, more people will seek the help they need.  More people will find the strength to recover, just like Macklemore and millions of Americans have."
Last month, Obama signed into law the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016 that was advocated by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and other industry groups. The bill seeks to advance collaboration among health and enforcement authorities to achieve drug abuse solutions that maintain patients’ legitimate access to medications.
“This new law is one part of the culture change that needs to occur to make possible a nuanced approach to this complex issue. We appreciate the President’s signing this bill into law," stated Steven Anderson, NACDS president and CEO. NACDS has noted that the new law is highly consistent with public attitudes. In an opinion study commissioned by NACDS last summer, likely voters who were engaged and aware when it comes to current events indicated through their responses an appreciation for the need to address drug abuse and drug access in a complementary manner.
Nearly 8-in-10 respondents agreed with the statement: “Pharmacies have a dual role when it comes to battling prescription drug abuse: They have to be part of the solution by working with law enforcement officials to stop prescription drug abuse, but they also have to maintain their responsibilities to patients by making sure they receive the medications they legitimately need.”

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