CDC guidelines to address the Heroin epidemic in the nation receives widespread endorsementCristina Cantor (Author) Published Date : Jan 16, 2016 15:29 IST
Recent years have seen increasing suffering and pain inflicted by opioid and heroin addiction in communities across the nation. Like many other constituents, we have also seen how the tragic epidemic has impacted our own loved ones and friends. The time has arrived when we should put a face to this crisis and sharing the stories of those impacted by the crisis is the best way to achieve this.
The statistics that surrounds overdose and drug addiction are indeed staggering. Overdose deaths related to heroin across the nation have more than tripled, and the numbers only keep rising. 2014 saw 10,574 deaths on account of an overdose of heroin which represents a 26% increase over 2013. Prescription opioids also contributed to 18,893 deaths representing a 16% annual increase. All this data suggests that communities and families will face even more losses in 2015. However, this data is exclusive of those who survived the crisis and had been changed by the crisis.
Back home, when we meet the constituents, the statistics go beyond just the numbers and they mean significantly more. They are our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, teachers and others from our communities who have simply been swept away in the addiction nightmare. In order to put a human face to this epidemic, we believe, it is important to share the personal side of opioid and heroin abuse in a manner that could lead to more concerted effort to treat and prevent addiction. This is the major reason why on Wednesday last, we joined on the House floor in a bipartisan effort to share the personal experience of individuals close to us who were affected by addiction. The effort has been in the right direction, with many such personal stories pouring in. The geographical location or socioeconomic status does not stop the epidemic and it has the potential to strike just about anyone.
The good news, however, is that with this crisis deepening, policy makers across the board are focusing greater attention on ways to help prevent and treat opioid and heroin addiction. Important assistance to law enforcement agencies were also included in the bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill that has been passed last month. The bill also included resources for the drug courts, increased funding for the states to step up monitoring prescription medication. Further, the VHA (Veterans Health Administration) has also been required to adopt safe prescribing practices for opioid apart from strengthening funding to the CDCs for improving prescribing methods for opioids.
CDC guidelines to address the Heroin epidemic in the nation receives widespread endorsement