HEALTH

President’s opioid commission releases recommendations

The Federal Commission Gov. Chris Christie heads to tackle opioid abuse wants President Trump to declare opioid addiction a national emergency and throw the full weight of the Federal government behind curbing it. Lyndsay Christian has the details on this drug addiction crisis.

The Center for Disease Control says approximately 142 people die every day from a drug overdose, the equivalent of Sept. 11’s death toll happening every three weeks. That is why the commission is pressing President Trump to take action to help save lives. The opioid epidemic our country is facing is unparalleled. In addition to recommending the president declare a national emergency, the report offers several recommendations to force congress to focus on funding.

Those include:

  • increasing capacity to open treatment to thousands of Americans and eliminate barriers.
  • mandating prescriber education with the help of medical and dental schools.
  • enhancing access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), which has proven to reduce overdose deaths and decrease use of heroin.
  • allowing Naloxone dispensing by standing order and put it in the hands of all law enforcement.
  • adding Fentanyl detectors to land borders and post offices to stop its flow.
  • enhancing interstate data sharing to allow states to better track patient-specific prescription data.
  • regulating patient privacy laws specific to addiction to ensure information about substance abuse disorders is shared with medical professionals.
  • enforcing the mental health parity and Addiction Equity Act – which prohibits health plans from imposing less favorable benefits for mental health and substance use diagnoses.

We did talk with Joseph Vitale, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee about access to residential treatment for New Jersey opioid addicts.

“Yes, there are if you have commercial insurance you can get ahead, but again we are going back to the mindset that we have to have for everyone and we don’t,” said Vitale.

The interim report is just a start. The commission says its work is ongoing and will share additional findings in the fall.

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