Dr. Phil Gingrey, former U.S. Congressman and Senior Advisor to the District Policy Group at Drinker Biddle & Reath authored a column in The Hill, a top U.S. political media outlet, on the dangers and growing epidemic of opioid abuse. He explains that while 78 people die from an overdose of opioid every day in the United States, these deaths could be preventable if policymakers take the necessary steps.
Dr. Gingrey draws on some astonishing facts, for example, in 2014, nearly 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids. Additionally, he points out that the CDC found the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. had nearly quadrupled since 1999, even though the amount of pain that Americans reported had not changed.
Dr. Gingrey lays out the policy changes that must take place to prevent future deaths. He commends his former colleagues on their work to create the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) but notes that additional policy action and attention are necessary. To that end, Dr. Gingrey urges states that have not enacted Good Samaritan laws to consider such legislation in order to eliminate fear and stigma for those individuals who may witness an overdose or seek to assist someone who has overdosed.
“We need a strong commitment from policymakers to support initiatives to combat opioid abuse and overdoses. Ending this epidemic is within our grasp; we just need to reach for it.”