WHAT IS NEEDED TO REVERSE THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
FIVE TOP PRIORITIES
- Congregations and schools must lead the way in breaking through the stigma and shame surrounding addiction and in educating families and youth about substance use. [This work is underway!]
- Educational leaders must develop and implement comprehensive K-12 substance use prevention and harm reduction plans, working together to identify proven or promising approaches.
- Parents must equip children -- and students must equip themselves -- to make sound decisions regarding substance use and to help their peers do the same.
- Hospitals must lead a comprehensive effort to eliminate the barriers to medication-assisted opioid treatment, starting by changing the way they treat opioid overdoses.
- Hospitals and medical professionals must lead a counter-revolution in pain management without opioids to correct the excesses of the pharma-driven pain revolution of the 1990s.
HERE ARE FIVE MORE
- Insurers must remove the systematic barriers to insurance coverage for addiction and mental health treatment, and must cover non-opioid alternatives for pain management.
- The pharma companies that fed this epidemic through fraudulent mass marketing of addictive opioid pain pills must fund comprehensive efforts to repair and reverse the damage they caused.
- Police and prosecutors must prioritize enforcement resources to target fentanyl importers and distributors, and use arrests of drug users as opportunities to connect them with effective treatment, not jail.
- State officials must lead a comprehensive effort to upgrade the addiction treatment infrastructure, and to insist on rigorous, results-oriented evaluation of state-licensed treatment providers.
- Public officials at every level must use a variety of tools -- legislation, licensing, regulation, taxpayer subsidies, bully pulpits, litigation -- to encourage the transformations needed in the addiction treatment, sober home, pharma and insurance industries.