Saturday, June 17, 2017

WATCH President Donald Trump's Commission Team on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis 6/17/17

First off, this is a major issue and a good effort is being undertaken here. As is pointed out in the video, the deaths from the opioid crisis now tops that of the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s. This is an issue that my wife as an ER nurse sees deaths and overdoses from nearly every work day and at an unprecedented rate. It has also affected her personally with the death of several friends who she never thought would do heroin. It is also an issue constantly in the news in the area that I live near the PA/OH border towards Youngstown, OH. 

There was testimony from a decent variety of people including medical professionals, mental health experts, drug treatment organizations, and recovering addicts. It was nice to see the need to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health and drug addiction addressed, as well as how being an addict and having mental health problems are often inescapably intertwined. Also very noteworthy that it was brought up, that this needs to be treated like a medical issue and not a criminal one, at least when it comes to users, and that treating it like the latter is not cost effective.

All that being said, I skimmed through a good deal of each testimony here and while I may have very well missed it, I did not hear anyone address the fact that many heroin overdose deaths are occurring because of it being cut with fentanyl and analogs like carfentanil, which apparently is readily available online. Nor did I hear it brought up that this crisis is affecting those who actually need pain medication who are now increasingly being treated like addicts, a point raised by several people in the comments. Also, mentioned in comments and lacking from the commission as far as I saw, was the push for medical marijuana, which Trump has stated he supports, as a safe alternative when it comes to pain management. CBD oil, which does not get you high and offers some pain relief but not as much as the mix of THC and CBD from marijuana is now legal in all 50 states and needs to stay that way.