October 24, 2017 – Opioid Impact

October 20, 2017

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Anchor lead: What would be helpful about declaring opioid overdoses a national emergency?

64,000 people dead from opioid overdoses last year. Those are the dire statistics, and Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, says their impact is clear.

Strain: We’ve seen the changes in life expectancy for middle aged men in this country, which is related to opiate overdoses, really is a wake up call. Prescription opioids certainly play a key role in that.  :12

Strain says declaring our opioid epidemic a state of emergency would help.

Strain: At a federal level there is some things that can be done like emergency funds, reallocation of funds, that can help address the opioid crisis. So there are advantages there, but I think that also it helps to crystalize, in both clinicians minds as well as in the public’s mind, that we need to do something different from what we’ve been doing in the past. :21

Strain says robust treatment programs, not just naloxone reversal, are needed, as well as effective constraints on supply chains.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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