President Trump Highlights Opioid Epidemic in Historic Address – What’s Next for the Commission?

February 12, 2018​

“In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour… My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need.  The struggle will be long and difficult — but, as Americans always do, we will prevail,” said President Donald J. Trump in his State of the Union Address late last month. Conspicuous in its absence from his speech was any mention of the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which released its final report last November.

The report’s release was met with great fanfare, and AIHA was especially pleased that it addressed many of our recommendations in both a new section and appendix. However, since the report’s release, there has been little substantive progress on its recommendations. Instead, we have been left wondering what’s next. The power of leadership cannot be overstated, and with the opioid epidemic continuing to ravage our nation, placing first responders and others at great risk of exposure to their drugs, leadership from the White House is needed now more than ever. With any luck, the President’s mention of the opioid crisis in his historic State of the Union Address will usher in renewed focus and energy on these issues.​