In mid-March, President Donald Trump commented about his plan to fight the US drug overdose crisis. According to the latest estimates, 2017 was another “record” year for overdose deaths – over 71,000 lives were lost due to fatal overdose.
Here are a few important takeaways from what the President had to say.
#1 Prevent Opioid Addiction at the Source
“First, we’re taking action to reduce drug demand by preventing Americans from becoming addicted in the first place…That includes increasing federal funding for the development of non-addictive painkillers. And we have to come up with a solution where we come up with a painkiller that’s not so addictive.”
Already, encouraging progress is being made. For example, recent research shows that over-the-counter medications may be more effective than opioids at treating certain types of pain.
#2 Possible Federal Litigation against Drug Companies
“We’re also taking action to prevent addiction by addressing the problem of overprescribing. And our Department of Justice is looking very seriously into bringing major litigation against some of these drug companies.”
Already, there have been dozens of lawsuits filed nationwide by states, counties, and even individual citizens. Any federal litigation would only increase the likelihood of settlements that could be used to find solutions to a problem that was largely created by the drug companies.
#3 Public Awareness Campaigns
“And this has been something that I’ve been very strongly in favor of: spending a lot of money on great commercials showing how bad it is, so that kids seeing those commercials during the right shows on television or wherever — the Internet — when they see these commercials they (think) — “I don’t want any part of it.”
Although some are critical about the effectiveness of anti-drug ads, research has shown that certain types of campaigns work better than others. Specifically, ads that emphasize the positive choices that teens can make as individuals have been successful. Additionally, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have been studying brain imaging to determine how viewers respond to televised ads.
“…we’re announcing a new website, CrisisNextDoor.gov, where Americans can share their stories about the danger of the opioid addiction and addictions.”
By creating a forum where individuals and families can share their experiences, it opens up new avenues for open discussion of this public health emergency. It also lets those in crisis know that they are not alone. They can draw strength and inspiration from others.
As one of the most-trusted outpatient substance abuse treatment programs in Southern California, Lasting Recovery supports any efforts to address the problems of drug dependence, abuse, addiction, and overdoses.