CDC Stepping Up Efforts to Combat Opioid Epidemic, New Director Says

The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the agency is increasing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Robert Redfield told The Wall Street Journal the CDC is developing guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain, and is using a new system that can track opioid overdoses quickly using emergency department data. “We’re going to be able to track this epidemic in real time, which I think is really important to be able to respond,” he said.

Dr. Redfield, who took up his new post in March, said a close family member has struggled with opioids. “I think part of my understanding of the epidemic has come from seeing it not just as a public-health person and not just as a doctor,” he said. “It is something that has impacted me also at a personal level.” He said it is important to find a way to destigmatize opioid addiction. “We were able to do it to some degree for HIV, and I think pretty successfully, but it’s not over,” he said.

Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times between 2010 and 2017, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are seeing a sharp rise as well. The time to take action against the epidemic is now.

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