The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that has claimed more lives than AIDS and breast cancer. More Americans lost their lives to opioid addiction than the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. It is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50 and costs the U.S. an estimated $740 billion annually in health care, criminal justice and national productivity.
“The time is now to fundamentally change the way addiction is viewed and treated, and turn the tide on the opioid crisis. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past in our approach to addressing this epidemic.” says Tom McLellan, who is Chair of the Addiction Solutions Campaign.
The Addiction Solutions Campaign developed these recommendations to provide clear guidance to the parties involved in current or future opioid litigation on sensible, cost-effective, evidence-based and long-lasting strategies for allocating potential settlement funds.
Paul Samuels, President and Director of the Legal Action Center says, “In addition to the need to make jurisdictions whole for the devastation already wreaked by this preventable epidemic, this is a unique opportunity to fund the systemic change necessary to prevent the next addition crisis, we must take the long-view and not miss this opportunity for meaningful investment in the system of care.”
The report provides a historic perspective on how the addiction treatment infrastructure was created and why it needs to be substantially strengthened in order to meet the current and future need. It outlines numerous science-based, scalable, cost-effective methods to substantially, rapidly and sustainably reduce the incidence of addiction through prevention and education, and opportunities to improve, integrate and expand the treatment infrastructure.
Tom McLellan notes, “Unlike many health and social threats to this country, we already know what works and what is required to reverse the course on this crisis. We need to build on what works by increasing access to treatment; reducing overdose deaths; and improving the quality of treatment enabling people with addiction to recover and lead healthy lives.”
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About theAddiction Solutions Campaign: The Addiction Solutions Campaign is a consortium of the leading policy, advocacy, education and technical assistance organizations in the addiction field including Legal Action Center, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Research and Evaluation Group at Public Health Management Corporation. This group devotes its collective 125 years of experience, skills and resources to impact the nation’s primary preventable health problem through public and professional education, policy development and advocacy, and translational research in addiction prevention and treatment.
Legal Action Center (LAC): Established in 1973, the Legal Action Center is the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas.
Center on Addiction: The Center on Addiction is a national nonprofit research and policy organization focused on improving the understanding, prevention and treatment of substance use and addiction. Founded in 1992 by former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., our interdisciplinary experts collaborate with others to promote effective policies and practices.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is a national nonprofit that is committed to helping families struggling with their son or daughter’s substance use. They empower families with information, support and guidance to get the help their loved one needs and deserves. They build healthy communities, advocating for greater understanding and more effective programs to treat the disease of addiction.
Public Health Management Corporation’s Research & Evaluation Group: The Research & Evaluation Group at Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is dedicated to helping clients understand their communities, improve their programming, and deepen their impact on public health and education. The addiction research is led by the team from the Treatment Research Institute, which became a part of PHMC in 2017. As part of PHMC, and as a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), the team partners with clients to address pressing research questions, produce science-driven evaluations, inform programming, and facilitate technical assistance and strategy development.