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Opinion

Another view: Time for action on opioid addiction

Opioid addiction has developed such a powerful grip on Americans that some scientists have blamed it for lowering our life expectancy.

Drug overdoses – nearly two-thirds of them from prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids – killed about 64,000 Americans last year, over 20 percent more than in 2015. That also is more than double the number in 2005, and nearly quadruple the number in 2000, when accidental falls killed more Americans than opioid overdoses.

The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis said in July that its “first and most urgent recommendation” was for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency, to free up emergency funds for the crisis and “awaken every American to this simple fact: If this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.” The commission’s final report is due out in a month.

Trump has not declared an emergency, and “bold” would not describe the steps the White House has taken so far. The president’s 2018 budget request increases in addiction treatment funding by less than 2 percent, even including $500 million already appropriated by Congress in 2016 under the 21st Century Cures Act.

Families across the U.S. are demanding that more be done to end the despair and devastation of addiction. ... The government needs to save Americans, not cast them off.

The New York Times

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