SOURCE: The White House
When President Trump took office, the opioid crisis was devastating communities across America. Nearly 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016 alone. Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 of these deaths, more than any previous year on record.
In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. Ever since, the Trump Administration has applied an all-of-Government approach to the epidemic, taking an extraordinary range of actions that reflect the President’s commitment to stopping the crisis in its tracks.
President Trump’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse, unveiled in 2018, is confronting the driving forces behind the opioid crisis.
Part 1 is reducing demand and over-prescription, including educating Americans about the dangers of opioid misuse. Part 2 is cutting down on the supply of illicit drugs by cracking down on the international and domestic drug supply chains that devastate American communities. Part 3 is helping those struggling with addiction through evidence-based treatment and recovery support services.
Among the historic actions taken:
As of October 2018, the Trump Administration had secured $6 billion in new funding over a two-year window to fight opioid abuse.
To curb over-prescription, the President implemented a Safer Prescribing Plan that will cut opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years.
President Trump is fighting to keep dangerous drugs out of the United States by securing land borders, ports of entry, and waterways against smuggling.
In 2018, President Trump worked with Congress to pass the SUPPORT Act, the single largest legislative package addressing a single drug crisis in history.
The results of the Trump Administration’s efforts should give all Americans hope.
The number of first-time heroin users ages 12 and older fell by more than 50 percent in July 2017. Between President Trump’s Inauguration and October 2018, high-dose opioid prescriptions fell by 16 percent.
In July 2017, the Department of Justice shut down the country’s biggest Darknet distributor of drugs. That same Fiscal Year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took more than 2,300 pounds of fentanyl off the streets.
In terms of helping those struggling with addiction, there has been a 20 percent increase in young adults receiving outpatient treatment. And in 2017, America had an increase in the number of patients age 12 and older with illicit drug-use disorders being treated at specialty facilities and private provider offices.
Seizures of several kinds of illicit drugs are up, the number of new 30-day prescriptions is down and overdose deaths attributed to prescription pain medications have started to level.
President Trump’s Story
For President Trump, ending the opioid epidemic is more than just a policy issue. It’s a calling driven from his firsthand family experience.
“I had a brother, Fred—great guy, best-looking guy, best personality,” the President told those gathered in the East Room of the White House in October 2017. “But he had a problem. He had a problem with alcohol, and he would tell me, ‘Don’t drink. Don’t drink.’ . . . He would say it over and over and over again.”
The landscape of addiction in America looks different today than it did decades ago. Now, we have a real chance to flip the script on opioid abuse. “I learned because of Fred. I learned,” President Trump says. “It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction.”
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