As we mark National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 26, the Trump Administration is launching its next phase in the fight against America’s opioid epidemic.
The opioid crisis threatens communities and families across our country. Roughly 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. According to the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, the annual economic cost of the crisis now likely exceeds $504 billion, and the total number of deaths from these drugs since the beginning of the epidemic is staggering.
Since day one, President Donald J. Trump and his Administration have taken action to ensure that future generations avoid the suffering of addiction and precious loss of life that our Nation knows all too well. Fortunately, there are now signs of progress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of overdose deaths from opioids over the past 12 months declined for the first time in 2018.
Capitalizing on this success is essential—and it’s only possible with a comprehensive science response that strategically accelerates research and development to end the crisis across government, industry, and academia.
Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a plan to coordinate Federal research and development efforts to combat the opioid crisis: Health Research and Development to Stem the Opioid Crisis: A National Roadmap. This plan will leverage the United States innovation ecosystem to push the boundaries of science and human knowledge and bridge the gaps in research and development that are critical to combatting the opioid crisis.
The National Roadmap sets out eight recommendations that serve as a guide for strengthening, expanding, and coordinating core research and development efforts to reduce the adverse public-health impact of opioids and maximize the public-health benefit of Federal investments:
- The Biology and Chemistry of Pain and Opioid Addiction
- Non-Biological Contributors to Opioid Addiction
- Pain Management
- Prevention of Opioid Addiction
- Treatment of Opioid Addiction and Sustaining Recovery
- Overdose Prevention and Reversal
- Community Consequences of Opioid Addiction
- Opportunities for Advanced Coordination
We sought public comment to shape the National Roadmap because the opioid crisis touches every corner of American life. Every perspective, recommendation, and comment was considered from a wide range of viewpoints, including: individuals personally impacted by the opioid crisis; doctors, nurses, emergency medicine personnel, and other healthcare providers; public health departments and other State and local agencies; private-sector leaders; and professional and non-profit organizations.
The National Roadmap comes on the heels of a critical research effort led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Recently, NIH announced $945 million in research grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements through the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative. In parallel with the National Roadmap, this research and development aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of addiction and overdose, and achieve long-term addiction recovery.
Under President Trump’s leadership, our Nation has made demonstrable achievements to combat the opioid crisis. Still, much work remains to end the suffering of families and communities from opioid addiction. The National Roadmap establishes a framework for the path forward to continue the fight and successfully end the opioid crisis for all Americans.