Just last month, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar delivered some encouraging news about the nation’s battle against the opioid epidemic.
A few highlights:
- “Provisional estimates of overdose deaths dropped by 5 percent from 2017 to 2018, the first decrease in more than 20 years.”
- “From 2016 to 2019, we estimate that the number of Americans receiving medication-assisted treatment [to counter opioid addiction] has increased by 38 percent.“
- “The amount of naloxone [medication to treat opioid overdose] prescribed monthly has increased 378 percent since President [Trump] took office, while the total amount of prescription opioids being prescribed monthly has dropped by 31 percent.”
Opioid abuse and overdose deaths are down, and treatment for opioids is up — this is welcomed news for all Americans.
House Republicans have been fighting for legislation to address the opioid crisis head on for years. For example, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, which was signed into law by President Trump last Congress, is a bipartisan bill that will help in the overall effort to advance treatment and recovery initiatives, improve prevention, and bolster efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl.
The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act follows the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act, which were signed into law in 2016. Both are bipartisan bills aimed to expand access to various opioid treatment programs.
While these numbers and legislative successes offer hope, it’s not enough. There is a long road ahead in terms of ending this nationwide epidemic, and it’s Congress’ job to keep fighting.
Unfortunately, the Democrat majority in the House has siloed all of their attention and resources into impeaching President Trump — a goal they’ve had since the day he was inaugurated. Meaningful, bipartisan legislation has been thrown to the wayside.
In their attempt to remove from office the duly elected President of the United States on purely political grounds, Speaker Pelosi and her Democrat caucus have blatantly ignored or purposely politicized most other issues that matter to the American people, like combating the opioid crisis.
Americans deserve more from those they lend their voices to in Congress. Instead of wasting their majority on their impeachment fixation, House Democrats should join Republicans to end the opioid crisis in a bipartisan fashion.