Donald J. Trump
Today in Bedminster, NJ, President Donald J. Trump held a “major briefing” with the HHS on the current opioid epidemic in the United States and the department’s strategy to fight it.
During a separate press briefing, HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, emphasized the president’s absolute commitment to “turning this tide in the right direction” and ensuring that the number of overdose deaths and individuals addicted to medication decrease.
Price noted that in 2015, there were approximately 52,000 overdose deaths, of which 33,000 were related to opioids.
“The numbers in 2016 are no better and the numbers in 2017 are worse than in 2016,” he said.
He outlined the HHS’s strategy for combatting the opioid epidemic, which includes ensuring that necessary resources and information for prevention, treatment and recovery are readily accessible; that best practices are provided for states engaged in the process; and that overdose-reversing medication is widely available across the country. Price also highlighted the importance of identifying why so many Americans succumb to overdose death and why those numbers continue to rise.
The NIH is an important factor for research and developing pain medications that are not addictive or euphoric, he said.
“[The NIH] is working on a vaccine for addiction,” Price said. “That is incredibly exciting.”
Furthermore, understanding how to treat pain in this nation and providing pain medication “when necessary, but no more than necessary” is essential, he added.
Conway, the president’s senior counselor, also attended the briefing with President Trump. Conway and Price underscored the importance of working together in a comprehensive strategy.
“The problem is very complicated and currently we are on the losing side of this war,” Conway said during the press conference. “With the President’s leadership and the First Lady’s involvement and involvement across a spectrum of different cabinets and agencies and different departments in the West Wing, we are confident that we can help those in need across this country. We know this involves public health, the medical community, health care delivery system, law enforcement, education, local and state-wide elected officials, devastated families and those in treatment and recovery.”
“No state has been spared and no demographic group has gone untouched,” she added. “It is not a problem of young or old, of black or white, of rural, urban or suburban. It really has affected all of our communities in varying degrees.”
Healio has provided extensive coverage of research developments and policy guidelines as the health care industry struggles to deal with the opioid epidemic. – by Alaina Tedesco
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