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The news this week of nearly 80 K2 (synthetic marijuana) overdoses in New Haven, Connecticut is only the latest grim headline in a drug overdose epidemic that last year reportedly claimed a record number of American lives: 72,000 according to recent news reports.
That record number of drug fatalities has prompted calls for swift action from Congress by Beach House Center for Recovery Executive Chairman Chris Christie. In a tweet yesterday, Christie wrote that “Congress needs to act on the crisis by adopting the 65 recommendations made last year.”
Urging a Swift Response from Congress to the Overdose Crisis
By “recommendations,” Christie was referring to a list of recommendations issued by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which Christie was appointed to lead in March 2017 and chaired until December 2017.
Some of the more salient recommendations from the Commission:
- An expanded drug court system
- Expanded insurance coverage for addiction treatment
- Streamlined federal funding for addiction treatment programs and services
- Greater access to FDA-approved Medication-Assisted Treatment for addiction
- Increasing emergency responders’ access to the life-saving drug naloxone in cases of overdose
- Tightened prescribing requirements for opiate painkiller medications
In yesterday’s tweet, Christie thanked both the Administration (for adopting the Commission’s proposals) and the House of Representatives (for passage of the bills), and urged expedited passage in the Senate.
Addiction and Overdose in America – Stats on the National Drug Epidemic
The fact that a record number of Americans died from overdose last year is not surprising on the basis of statistics like the following:
- More than 175 American lives are lost every day to opiates alone, according to the Commission’s final report to the President.
- The rate at which drug overdose deaths are increasing is reportedly also at a record high.
- Opiate overdoses kill roughly five people every hour.