Opioid misuse, addiction, overdose and death have become an epidemic in America. In fact over the past 15 years, the nation's opioid epidemic has claimed more than 250,000 lives, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the last year alone, nearly 30,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses.
Physicians have stepped up as leaders in preventing and reducing misuse, addiction, overdose, and death from prescription drugs. They understand that the opioid epidemic is complex with no single solution, and that a multi-pronged public health approach is needed. Congress has recently turned its attention to this most urgent issue by passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) which increases coverage for-and access to-comprehensive treatment for opioid use disorder, includes medication-assisted treatment; increases access to overdose prevention measures, such as naloxone; and expands Good Samaritan protections.
While this is an encouraging first step, lawmakers have much more work to do. Congress must ensure that CARA is fully funded to help the thousands of Americans who are caught in the web of opioid addiction as well as allocating additional resources for treatment and prevention programs.
These reforms are absolutely critical to seriously addressing the opioid crisis that continues to plague our country. We are needlessly losing thousands of people to a preventable epidemic. Make your voice heard in our nation's capital - urge your legislators to take action today!