National Summit Aims for Solutions to Opioid Crisis

This week, I am honored to attend the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta along with PDFNJ Director of Media, Marketing & Community Relations Angela Conover.

Thousands of people from 48 states and Washington, D.C., as well as several other countries, are in attendance at this year’s conference, which provides organizations from around the country a forum to evaluate what prevention and treatment programs are working in the fight against the opioid crisis.

We already have heard presentations from members of Congress and leaders of federal agencies who have outlined what must be done to address this epidemic that claimed more than 42,000 lives in the United States in 2016. Former President Bill Clinton will be speaking about the opioid crisis this evening.

Unfortunately, the number of opioid deaths has continued to rise. In New Jersey, there were already 765 suspected drug overdose deaths in 2018 as of April 1, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. At that pace, the number of overdose deaths would exceed 3,000 for the year, far exceeding the totals for 2016 and 2017.

A lot of work must be done to reduce these tragic statistics. It’s encouraging to see people and organizations from throughout the country united to work toward solutions to this problem, and I am hopeful that the momentum created here will result in renewed efforts to expand prevention and treatment opportunities throughout the country.

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