NEW YORK – November 2, 2017 – The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis yesterday released its final report on the nation’s opioid epidemic.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a nonprofit that supports families who are struggling with their son or daughter’s substance use, agrees with the report’s call for much-needed increases in access to addiction treatment and recovery programs, expanding the availability of medication-assisted therapies, along with first responders’ ability to administer the life-saving overdose reversal drug, naloxone.
Yet, for any of the 65 report recommendations to be enacted, and to see any progress in addressing the opiate crisis, a large infusion of additional funding is necessary. The report does not lay out a specific budget request to implement these recommendations. We call on the President to make sure that his budget includes the massive increase in funding necessary to implement these vital recommendations and seize on the opportunity to take decisive action to stem the tide of overdose deaths.
With 144 people dying every day in drug-overdose related deaths, 91 of which are directly related to opioids – and the White House declaring a nationwide public health emergency in response to the opioid epidemic just last week – yesterday’s report offers substantive and concrete solutions to address this public health crisis. Solutions that we know from evidence and science to work will most likely fail without the necessary dollars and resources to support them. Key Congressional members will need to be dogged in supporting the proposals outlined in the report, ensuring that critical dollars are attached to their successful implementation.
In June, we were invited to testify before Governor Chris Christie, Chairman of the President’s Commission, and we emphasized that a major factor in the unacceptably high number of overdose fatalities is the tragic reality that families are unable to find the support and resources they need to help a loved one who is struggling with a substance use disorder. The treatment system is incredibly difficult to navigate and, because of the soaring costs of treatment and the stigma that still surrounds addiction, families do not necessarily reach out for help.
The Partnership has a long history in working with partners, agencies and government officials at the federal, state and local levels to ensure that collectively, we are doing everything possible to drive down the number of overdoses and overdose deaths. We must all work together to provide services to all who need them and ensure that every family has access to support services – while also addressing the problem farther upstream, making sure that there are sufficient prevention and intervention programs in place.
Our Support for Families Facing the Opioid Crisis
The Partnership remains steadfast in our commitment to finding solutions to help end the opioid crisis:
With funding and support from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) in the eastern United States, we launched a comprehensive resource to help families and communities address the country’s growing heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis. Heroin and Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action provides parents with information and support for their family and treatment resources for their loved one. A short, powerful animated film explains how someone can go from abusing prescription pain medicine to heroin use and the devastation this epidemic has had on our communities.
In 2012, we launched the Medicine Abuse Project, creating a broad coalition of companies, federal agencies and nonprofits who continue to work together to drive down the misuse and abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The Medicine Abuse Project’s focus is reducing misuse and abuse of medication among teens, and the Partnership’s work has already helped contribute to a 45 percent decrease in abuse of prescription pain relievers by high school seniors in the past five years.
Our “Search and Rescue” prescriber education campaign, supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is helping prescribers nationwide link to their state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, and other tools, to help identify and get help for patients at risk of misuse and abuse of prescription medications.
Community education tools that we created with support from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have helped start a dialogue about local responses to this epidemic in communities across the country.
Our medication-assisted treatment eBook offers families a complete and comprehensive overview of medication-assisted treatment, including how to find the right facility or treatment provider for their child.
More than $140 million worth of “Mind Your Meds” public service announcements have already run to help raise awareness and bring attention to the dangers of misuse and abuse of medicines, while urging people to properly secure and dispose of medications in their homes.
The Partnership’s two documentary films – “Out of Reach” and “Breaking Points” – have been screened by close to 10,000 communities and individuals in all 50 states. These films have focused on teen misuse and abuse of prescription medicine, including opioids and stimulants.
The Partnership Empowers Families with Critical Information and Support
Through the Partnership’s Parent Helpline (1-855-DRUGFREE) and new, online live chat service, we have connected 10,000 families to bilingual master’s level counselors who help them develop a plan to address their child’s substance use.
With our national network of parent coaches, the Partnership connects parents to others who have “been there” and can help them learn how to love their child through this health crisis and understand that “tough love” and “rock bottom” are not the only viable options.
The Partnership has an active network of nearly 180,000 families, and through our website – drugfree.org – we provide 5 million families per year with the latest, cutting-edge scientific information distilled into actionable tips and tools to help them understand the disease of addiction, be better able to navigate the treatment system and get their child to accept help.
Working with private sector partners like Google and Facebook, we help reach parents as they actively search for help online.
In creating all of the Partnerships tools and resources, we use evidence-based concepts such as Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) and motivational interviewing to help parents obtain the best possible outcomes for getting their child into treatment and on the path to recovery.