The United States is losing 142 Americans every day from drug overdoses, according to a shocking new report from the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
The report was released in accordance with an executive order signed in March by Donald Trump to “study ways to combat and treat the scourge of drug abuse, addiction and the opioid crisis.”
In its interim report, the commission’s “first and most [urgently] recommended the president “declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.”
The report found a correlation between the rise of opioid overdoses and prescription opioids.
“Since 1999, the number of opioid overdoses in America have quadrupled according to the CDC,” the report reads. “Not coincidentally, in that same period, the amount of prescription opioids in America have quadrupled as well. “
“This is an epidemic that all Americans face because here is the grim reality: Americans consume more opioids than any other country in the world,” the report continues.
Trump, in his first address to Congress, promised to combat the “drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.”
“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he promised.
But critics say the president’s policies have thus far done little to combat the drug problem. Drug Policy Alliance deputy director of national affairs Grant Smith told the Washington Post the report “offers a sharp contrast to the overall approach that the Trump administration has been taking to escalate the war on drugs.”
The report also notes one of the biggest obstacles to the opioid crisis involves access to health care services designed to treat and combat addiction,
“Over forty percent of people with a substance use disorder also have a mental health problem, but less than half of these people receive treatment for either issue,” the report reads. “The reasons for these treatment gaps are many, including lack of access to care, fear of shame and discrimination, and lack of motivation to seek treatment.”
Despite vowing to combat opioid abuse in the U.S., Trump has been advocating an Obamacare replacement plan that slashed Medicaid funding by $772 billion over a decade. As Rolling Stone notes, Medicaid currently treats 30 percent of the nation’s addicts.
“Our country needs you, Mr. President,” the report insists. “We know you care deeply about this issue. We also know that you will use the authority of your office to deal with our nation’s problems.”
Read the full report at the White House website.