On September 11, 2001, 2,996 people were killed and another 6,000 wounded in a coordinated attack on U.S. targets. It was a day of unimaginable tragedy – one few Americans will ever forget.
Incredibly, 142 Americans are now dying daily from opioid overdoses – a death toll the equivalent of a 9/11 event every three weeks.
Think about that fact…
A bipartisan commission established by President Trump to look into this public health crisis concluded last week that the President should declare a national state of emergency in response to the problem.
Is that a good idea?
What would that mean to the battle to stem the tide of this killer?
While hard to know exactly, a declaration of a national state of emergency might allow the government to remove barriers to treatment, including a federal rule that limits the number of Medicaid recipients who can receive residential addiction treatment.
Declaring a national state of emergency might also help establish federal incentives to improve access to treatment, and it would allow the federal government to require physicians to undergo training in the proper use of opioid drugs.
Think about that last point for a moment…
The medical community has known for a decade that opioids are both dangerous and highly addictive. The companies that make these drugs have known these facts even longer – since the 1990s.
So it will take the declaration of a national emergency to get the medical profession to police its members, requiring that they learn how to use dangerous drugs they have been prescribing with reckless abandon for almost 20 years?
That, my friends, is outrageous.
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