In the last decade, opioid misuse and overdose has risen at unprecedented rates and has surpassed traffic fatalities as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 63,632 lethal drug overdoses in 2016. Of these, 19,413 were related to synthetic opioids and 15,469 were related to heroin.1 In the face of this public health emergency, there is an urgent need for simple and achievable prevention, treatment, and recovery policies that can reduce opioid overdose.
Important initial steps to combat the opioid epidemic have been taken by Congress, the Administration, public health agencies, and a number of state legislatures, but more is still needed to be done to reverse the tide of this epidemic.
Now is the time for stakeholders to come together to overcome potential political challenges to ensure that Congress passes meaningful legislation and appropriates significant, additional funding this year. The Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose unifies diverse stakeholders around common policy goals and a coordinated strategy that will lead to meaningful and comprehensive opioid overdose prevention policy.
- Hedegaard H, Warner M, Minino AM. Drug Overdose deaths in the United States, 1999-2016. NCHS Data Brief, no 294. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017.