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3/6/16

US Drug Epidemic: Obama joins fight against opioid abuse -yearly in America more people die from drug overdoses than from car accidents

Lending his voice to the fight against a drug scourge that kills 28,000 Americans a year, President Obama told nearly 2,000 policymakers, professionals and parents Tuesday that the nation must provide more treatment for people addicted to opioids and reframe the addiction problem through the lens of public health.

“The most important thing we can do is reduce demand for drugs, and the only way that we reduce demand is by providing treatment and thinking about this as a public health problem and not just a criminal issue,” Obama said during a panel discussion at the 2016 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.

“Part of what has made it difficult to emphasize treatment over criminal justice system has to do with the fact that the populations affected in the past were ... stereotypically identified as poor and minority,” he said. “And as a consequence, the thinking was it is often a character flaw in those individuals who live in those communities. ... One of the things that’s changed ... is a recognition that this reaches everybody.”

Given its widespread reach, administration officials announced a wide range of actions to fight the epidemic, such as expanding access to drug treatment, bolstering efforts to ensure health coverage for substance abuse and mental health are on par with benefits for other medical services, investing in partnerships between law enforcement and communities, and providing guidance on using federal funds to start or expand needle exchanges.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy,meanwhile, said he will release a report later this year on substance use, addiction and health, similar to the landmark surgeon general’s report on smoking released 50 years ago that focused public attention on that issue.

US Drug Abuse: 't’s a plague for families and communities 
They shared their news at the fifth annual summit, organized by Operation UNITE, an Eastern Kentucky anti-drug organization launched in 2003 by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. The summit has grown from an upstart event into the major national gathering on the issue, drawing people from both sides of the political aisle.
“This is a bipartisan issue — actually a non-partisan issue,”

Rogers, a Republican who represents Kentucky’s fifth district, said in an interview. “We’re united in the drive to stop this death rage that we’re in.”

Across the USA, more Americans die every year from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes. In 2014, drug overdoses killed 47,055 people, the highest number on record, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority, around 28,000, involved opioids such as prescription painkillers and heroin.

In fact, heroin-related overdose deaths have more than tripled since 2010, totaling 10,500 in 2014.

Bottom line: believing that people are able to act responsibly when it comes to recreational, hard drugs or other opiods is total nonsense. Just say no to drugsand report anyone selling drugs immediately to the police.

 Read more: Obama joins fight against opioid abuse | WUSA9.com

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