President Trump Outlines Plan for Ending Opioid Crisis

This week, President Trump spoke in New Hampshire to address the opioid crisis, which claimed more than 42,000 lives in 2016.

The president’s proposal for harsher punishments for drug dealers received a majority of media attention in recent days, but it is important to realize that law enforcement is just one part of addressing this crisis. Appropriate law enforcement measures must be coupled with effective prevention messages and access to treatment in order to stem this epidemic.

As the president mentioned, media campaigns can be an effective tool in educating the public about substance use and addiction. It is vital that these messages use evidence-based approaches that urge the public to take actions, such as securing medicine cabinets and disposing of unused medications; asking prescribers about the risks of prescription opioids; or speaking with children about the dangers of substance use.

The president’s plan also includes increased access to medication-assisted treatment, which has been an important option for many people suffering from addiction. Making this form of treatment more available is vital to battling the opioid crisis.

Meanwhile, Congress has begun to examine ways to end the epidemic and has set aside $6 billion in funding to address the issue.

I am hopeful that the renewed attention to this issue from the federal government will lead to breakthroughs in prevention, treatment and recovery. We all need to keep members of Congress informed on the importance of a balanced approach, including prevention, treatment and law enforcement if we are truly going to end the opioid epidemic.

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