American Pain Association (APA) Commends President Trump’s Recent Actions to Stem America’s Opioid Epidemic

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APA President Dr. Sanjay Gupta Says New Drug Addiction Commission is “Step in Right Direction” for Combating Nation’s Escalating Opioid Crisis

The opioid epidemic in continues to escalate and simply increasing funding is not the answer. If we are to win this war against this epidemic, we need to have a central command with ongoing watch and action by a multidisciplinary, inter-agency task force.

American Pain Association ( APA) today announced that it commends President Trump for signing an executive order that will create a Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to cope with the roughly 2.5 million Americans addicted to opioids.

While the United States makes up less than 5 percent of the world’s total population, it contributes to 75 percent of the world’s opioid prescription drugs, with drug doses as the most common cause of unintentional death with the Country. Of the 20.5 million Americans that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers.

“As a community, we haven’t been skeptical enough of what these medications could do for too long and haven’t asked enough questions,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, President of the APA. “We accepted flimsy scientific data promoted by pharmaceutical companies as gospel and preached it to our patients in a chamber that echoed loudly for decades. There are a number of factors that have created this perfect storm of dependency and overdose in the United States, including the poser of insurance companies to dictate the medical approach, because on the surface pills are a much cheaper option than a multidisciplinary approach, which has caused the death of millions of our citizens. With more then 250 million narcotic prescriptions written in America every year, drug manufacturers can certainly do more to curb this deadly epidemic ".

The APA also commends President Trump for appointing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to run the commission, who will work to “combat and treat the scourge of drug abuse, addiction, and the opioid crisis,” the White House said in a statement. The APA believes Governor Christie is an outspoken advocate for a public-health approach to opioid addiction with a proven, action-oriented record in his state of New Jersey, including his recent signing of a sweeping piece of anti-addiction legislation that mandates insurance coverage for up to six months of substance abuse treatment, imposes the nation’s strongest limit on initial opioid drug prescriptions and requires education for patients and doctors about the risks associated with the drugs.

“President Trump’s recent initiative to set up a Commission to work on this issue is a step in the right direction for combating our nation’s escalating opioid crisis,” said Dr. Gupta. “The opioid epidemic in this continues to escalate and simply increasing funding is not the answer. If we are to win this war against this epidemic, we need to have a central command with ongoing watch and action by a multidisciplinary, inter-agency task force.”

Despite billions of dollars in increased funding to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic, drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States and “the worst is yet to come,” a drug court judge said during a panel at the 2017 AAAS Science & Technology Policy Forum, which was held March 27-28 in Washington.

From 2000 to 2015, more than 500,000 people died from drug overdoses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involving an opioid. In fact, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

“Addiction and opioid abuse is killing more people than guns, road accidents and any terrorist attack, disaster or war that America has ever faced and that is just the tip of the iceberg,” added Dr. Gupta. “Nonetheless, the issue seemed to have been pushed under the rug in the past with the U.S. Surgeon General in 2015 choosing “Walking for Fitness” as his “Call to Action” plan, rather than this insidious pill epidemic. Therefore, we are hopeful that President Trump’s improved federal response to addiction and the opioid crisis, with his Commission and new appointments, that we are able to begin reversing this epidemic that is claiming the lives of Americans and costing health insurers and taxpayers trillions of dollars.”

Dr. Gupta believes Trump’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who said the he would “push the policy boundaries” for approval of safer opioids and other alternatives if he is confirmed, is also the right choice for the nation in terms of policy moving forward for the opioid crisis. Dr. Gottlieb said opioid addiction is “the biggest crisis facing the agency and tackling it would be his first priority, requiring “dramatic action,” including ways to spur development of non-addictive alternative pain killers, as well as addiction treatments.

In 2016, Dr. Gupta and the APA launched a national opioid awareness initiative focused on educating the public on the dangers of opioids and prescription opioid addiction, plus requested that the U.S. Surgeon General add the U.S. opioid epidemic to the nation’s “Call to Action.” The APA also received more than 12,000 online signatures from the public on a petition to aid their request.

In addition, the APA recommends a plan of action that includes dedicating efforts and resources towards improving the science of pain management and inclusion of pain specialists in policy developments. CDC Opioid Guideline development panel last year did not include any pain specialist.

About the American Pain Association:
The primary efforts of American Pain Association are directed towards education, research and improving treatment. We are also working in the area of developing expert consensus statements regarding pain issues. If you wish to participate in our activities or gather more information, please feel free to contact us at info@painassociation.org. Membership is open to all people from all walks of life, who are interested in Pain Management. For more information, visit http://www.painassociation.org

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Corporate contact:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
610-664-3000
President
American Pain Association

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