January 31, 2018 Josie Feliz
NEW YORK – January 31, 2018 – President Donald Trump delivered the 2018 State of the Union address to the nation last night and offered Congress a detailed plan representing reforms that support his Administration’s response to the country’s crisis of opioid and drug addiction.
President Trump noted that “in 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge. 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.”
As a nonprofit that supports families who are struggling with their son’s or daughter’s substance use, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids calls for swift immediate action to address this problem. Underscoring that the White House declared a nationwide public health emergency last year in response to the opioid epidemic, what we need are substantive and concrete solutions to address this public health crisis. That is why the Partnership has devised a detailed, four-point plan to help end the opioid crisis and empower families to take action. (Read the Partnership’s Action Plan in the Face of the Opioid Epidemic.)
“While we applaud the President for bringing attention to the country’s opioid crisis in his State of the Union address, we are beyond the point of sounding the alarm and merely raising awareness about this critical health problem,” said Chief Policy Officer for the Partnership, Marcia Lee Taylor. “Between the ‘2016 Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health’ and the 2017 recommendations of the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, we know what needs to be done to address this epidemic: what we need is funding. We sincerely hope the President’s upcoming budget will call for substantial funds to help treat this disease and support the millions of American families who are struggling to save their loved ones.”
Last June, we were invited to testify before the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and we emphasized that a major factor in the unacceptably high number of overdose fatalities is the tragic reality that families are unable to find the support and resources they need to help a loved one who is struggling with a substance use disorder. The treatment system is incredibly difficult to navigate and, because of the soaring costs of treatment and the stigma that still surrounds addiction, families do not necessarily reach out for help.
The Partnership has a long history in working with partners, agencies and government officials at the federal, state and local levels to ensure that collectively, we are doing everything possible to drive down the number of overdoses and overdose deaths. We must all work together to provide services to all who need them and ensure that every family has access to support services – while also addressing the problem farther upstream, making sure that there are sufficient prevention and intervention programs in place.
“The demand for help, support and resources for families who are facing the opioid crisis head on is skyrocketing,” said the Partnership’s President and CEO, Fred Muench. “Although we have been working tirelessly to address this issue for years, the demand for comprehensive resources is overwhelming, and we simply cannot meet the needs of so many parents and families who so desperately reach out for help, day in and day out. More must be done to address this problem and these families need to be part of any solutions we bring forth.”
Our Support for Families Facing the Opioid Crisis
The Partnership remains steadfast in our commitment to finding solutions to help end the opioid crisis:
- With funding and support from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) in the eastern United States, we launched a comprehensive resource to help families and communities address the country’s growing heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis. Heroin and Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action provides parents with information and support for their family and treatment resources for their loved one. A short, powerful animated film explains how someone can go from abusing prescription pain medicine to heroin use and the devastation this epidemic has had on our communities.
- In 2012, we launched the Medicine Abuse Project, creating a broad coalition of companies, federal agencies and nonprofits who continue to work together to drive down the misuse and abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The Medicine Abuse Project’s focus is reducing misuse and abuse of medication among teens, and the Partnership’s work has already helped contribute to a 45 percent decrease in abuse of prescription pain relievers by high school seniors in the past five years.
- Our “Search and Rescue” prescriber education campaign, supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is helping prescribers nationwide link to their state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, and other tools, to help identify and get help for patients at risk of misuse and abuse of prescription medications.
- Community education tools that we created with support from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have helped start a dialogue about local responses to this epidemic in communities across the country.
- Our medication-assisted treatment eBook offers families a complete and comprehensive overview of medication-assisted treatment, including how to find the right facility or treatment provider for their child.
- More than $140 million worth of “Mind Your Meds” public service announcements have already run to help raise awareness and bring attention to the dangers of misuse and abuse of medicines, while urging people to properly secure and dispose of medications in their homes.
- The Partnership’s two documentary films – “Out of Reach” and “Breaking Points” – have been screened by close to 10,000 communities and individuals in all 50 states. These films have focused on teen misuse and abuse of prescription medicine, including opioids and stimulants.
The Partnership Empowers Families with Critical Information and Support
- Through the Partnership’s Parent Helpline (1-855-DRUGFREE) and new, online live chat service, we have connected 10,000 families to bilingual master’s level counselors who help them develop a plan to address their child’s substance use.
- With our national network of parent coaches, the Partnership connects parents to others who have “been there” and can help them learn how to love their child through this health crisis and understand that “tough love” and “rock bottom” are not the only viable options.
- The Partnership has an active network of nearly 180,000 families, and through our website – drugfree.org – we provide 5 million families per year with the latest, cutting-edge scientific information distilled into actionable tips and tools to help them understand the disease of addiction, be better able to navigate the treatment system and get their child to accept help.
- Working with private sector partners like Google and Facebook, we help reach parents as they actively search for help online.
- In creating all of the Partnerships tools and resources, we use evidence-based concepts such as Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) and motivational interviewing to help parents obtain the best possible outcomes for getting their child into treatment and on the path to recovery.
For more information, please visit drugfree.org.