Sign Letter Asking For a National Emergency Declaration

 

Please scroll down or click here to sign our letter requesting the President declare a national emergency surrounding the ongoing opioid crisis.

 

Dear Mr. President & Members of the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis,

I am writing as an American deeply concerned by the addiction crisis ravaging our country. I strongly support the recommendation of the interim report from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis that a national emergency be declared. As the Commission’s report indicates, our current national response to addiction is nowhere near proportionate to its magnitude. Therefore, I urge you to take bold action to save millions of lives and immediately address the $442 billion per year that untreated addiction costs our national economy.

I stand with the bipartisan Commission and support all positive and life-saving recommendations laid out in their interim report. I look forward to seeing the final report that will hopefully include recommendations for development of data-driven national prevention strategies and expanded use of evidence-based programming in our nation’s schools.

This interim report does include positive steps, like the proposed changes to Medicaid rules, and stronger enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act – which would help provide additional access to care for substance use disorders. However, the increased access to treatment recommendations fall short in two major, fundamental areas:

  • Recovery support services must be brought to scale: Addiction is a chronic health disorder and we must realign health response toward long-term and sustainable recovery-focused outcomes. Without a robust effort and funding stream to increase the availability of recovery support services, we will continue to fall short of producing the full potential of our public health and safety investments. We believe a dedicated and ongoing portion of federal block grant funds divided equally between prevention and treatment should be set aside for the provision of recovery support services. Additionally, we urge the Commission to empower and direct the National Institutes of Health to deploy a recovery research agenda that, in addition to studying the nature of the problem, would significantly expand research toward the study of the solution.
  • Outcome-based reimbursement experimentation: Today, our current addiction treatment system (both public and private) is structured and incentivized in acute infectious disease style-models for what we know definitively is a chronic condition. This current response operates outside of mainstream health systems in a majority of communities. This style of treatment only incentivizes patient-churn and volume – not value or outcomes. In order to create sustainable change for the delivery of addiction health services, we must shift to a long-term integrated continuum of care involving primary care, evidenced-based clinical treatments and recovery supports. These health services must be delivered as close as possible to the patients’ natural living environment, just as we do for all other chronic conditions.

Thank you for considering these critical additional recommendations. As a signer of this letter, I represent a fast-growing contingency of people affected by the addiction crisis. We welcome the opportunity to meet with members of your Commission to discuss these important issues and stand ready to support solutions that will save lives.

Sincerely,

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