Across the nation, overdoses are the leading cause of death of people under 50, claiming 142 lives a day. This is more than those killed in car accidents and guns combined. To put it into more perspective, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.
This August, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is gearing up “to rapidly increase treatment capacity for those who need substance abuse help; to establish and fund better access to medication-assisted treatment programs; and to make sure that health care providers are aware of the potential for misuse and abuse of prescription opioids by enhancing prevention efforts at medical and dental schools.” (Source: CNN)
But what does declaring a national emergency actually do?
The first thing that it does is it puts the nation on notice. It generates a mass quantity of awareness. It also unlocks funding for programs that are needed right away. In essence, a national emergency expedites access to resources and different tools in response to a crisis. For example, it can help staff up doctors and medical personnel to be able to provide medically assisted treatment. It can help expand access to naloxone training and overdose prevention kits. Moreover, it may also decrease the cost of the life saving narcan. More funding provides more medical personnel in rural areas. And for the 90% of the 21 million Americans who have a substance use disorder and are not in treatment, the national crisis may help bridge that gap.
It’s too soon to tell, but we are hopeful that this national recognition helps those impacted receive the care they need.
Sources used to write this article:
Our View: Can We Kick This? Posted Sep 17, 2017. GoErie.com
Trump: ‘The opioid crisis is an emergency‘, By Wayne Drash and Dan Merica, CNN. Posted Fri August 11, 2017