President urged to declare opioids a public health crisis

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — America is facing a public health crisis, according to a new report from the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction.

The group’s interim report was recently presented to President Donald Trump.

The 10-page letter to the President claims the nation’s opioid problem didn’t start on the street corner, but rather in doctor’s offices and hospitals across the country. The report lists more than a half dozen ideas that could help curb the problem.

“It’s more serious than any other epidemic that’s hit this country,” said Indiana Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Ind).

The report sent to the President claims 142 Americans die every day from drug overdose, which is more than gun-related homicides and car crashes. Merritt says one of the biggest issues has been a massive increase in doctors prescribing pills over last 20 years.

“We have to have an understanding that doctors know if they do a 30-day prescription how damaging that can be,” said Merritt.

That’s why mandating prescriber education is one of the priorities being recommended nationwide.

“There just needs to be a little more understanding that patients might become addicted if you have large prescriptions going out there,” said Merritt.

Other recommendations include providing all law enforcement with Naloxone, which can prevent fatal overdoses.  The report also suggests the president declare a national public health emergency, work with the FBI develop better fentanyl detection systems, amend patient privacy laws and eliminate barriers to treatment.

“There are a lot of barriers with law enforcement and treatment issues.  There are so many areas that we need to attack so we can work to kill this epidemic,” said Merritt.

These recommendations are being made on the national level.  States like Indiana already have begun making some of those changes.

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