Following a listening session on opioids and drug abuse, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order establishing a commission on combating drug addiction and the opioid crisis.
“Drug abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the United States,” Trump said during the session. “Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in our country. And opioid overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 1999. This is a total epidemic, and I think it's probably almost untalked about compared to the severity that we're witnessing.”
Donald J. Trump
The session included federal and non-federal leaders as well as individuals who experienced or were exposed to addiction.
The commission will assess the scope and efficacy of the federal response to drug addiction and the opioid epidemic and will make recommendations to the president accordingly. This will consist of:
- identifying existing federal funding for addiction and the opioid epidemic;
- evaluating the availability and accessibility of addiction treatment services and overdose reversal and identify underserved areas;
- establishing best practices for addiction prevention, including health care provider education, evaluation of prescription practices and efficacy of state prescription drug monitoring programs;
- reviewing literature on efficacy of educational messages regarding prescription and illicit opioids for youth and adults;
- evaluate efficacy of existing federal programs for prevention and treatment of addiction and develop recommendations for improvement; and
- provide recommendations to the president on how to improve federal response to addiction and the opioid epidemic.
The AMA applauded the establishment of the commission and offered its support in combating the opioid epidemic.
“The AMA has been a leader in developing a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic, and we are excited to share the expertise of the nation’s physicians on this topic. Our Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse has issued recommendations and worked to raise awareness within the physician community,” AMA Board Chair Patrice A. Harris, MD, said in a press release. “We are poised to offer guidance in areas of effective public health approaches, best practices, clinical tools, medication-assisted treatment, and barriers to effective treatment. We want to emphasize the need to treat substance use disorder as a medical illness and eliminate the stigma associated with seeking treatment for pain and substance abuse.”