The opioid problem in America has reached a fever pitch wherein the abuse of prescription drugs is now matching the level of outcry and desperation that many Americans are feeling regarding this growing epidemic.
Under the Obama administration, quotas for opioid distribution just about doubled and pushed a massive level of supply into the pharmaceutical system. The Trump administration is taking active measures to reverse the damage done by Obama, with the current administration officials calling for a 20% cut in the production of many of the commonly prescribed opioid painkillers by 2018. The focus specifically being on hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and hydromorphone.
CBS News reports:
“National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins advised the commission that the agency is looking to build partnerships with researchers across academia, government, prescribers and patients to “cut in half the time needed to make available prescriptions that are non-addictive.”
He said areas like developing “potent but non-addictive drugs” for pain relief and offering new avenues for treatment would become a top priority for the partnership.
Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump held a meeting with first responders, families, and treatment advocates at the White House in an effort to raise greater awareness surrounding the opioid epidemic while also pushing for some level of necessary reform.
FLOTUS stated that she was there to “listen and learn from all of [the] stories,” according to the Washington Examiner, and her efforts are in-step with the Trump administration’s active fight to end the epidemic. Melania’s work in drawing attention to the issue has been instrumental as the plan to tackle opioid abuse ramps up.
A little-known fact about the DEA is that they must approve the amount of raw material used to produce certain medicines, like opioids, so in effect, they control the supply. The Obama-era DEA oversaw a massive build up in the amount of opioids they allowed to enter the market. For example, beginning in 2009, the DEA increased the supply of Oxycodone by 34% and continued this increase until that number reached nearly 60% by the year 2013.
At the heart of this epidemic is the fact that the Obama-era DEA created a beast that must now be rectified by the current administration. The opioid problem has infected everything from rural towns to major metropolitan cities and continues to be a growing problem that must be halted to ensure a stable and healthy return to normality regarding the pharmaceutical system.