Prescription drug abuse and overdose has reached epic proportions in the United States. In 2016, President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into law to reclassify drug abuse as a disease and not a crime. Additionally, millions of dollars of federal aid were set aside to help combat the scourge. In September 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a statement committing the department to the cause.

“Today, we have people dying from drug overdoses in the middle of funerals for loved ones who just days before died of an overdose. We have unimaginably lethal drugs, like fentanyl and carfentanil, pouring into our communities and instantly becoming best sellers because of their reputation for delivering a high so powerful that it can kill you with just one hit,” former Secretary Price said.

He outlined five priorities the HHS would concentrate on:

  • Improving access to treatment and recovery services
  • Promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  • Strengthening the understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  • Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  • Advancing better practices for pain management

As part of its commitment to nursing advocacy and quality cancer care, ONS continues to educate decisionmakers on the need for access to prescription medications for those patients with cancer in need of acute and chronic pain management, palliative care, and hospice treatment.

Learn more about ONS’s healthcare policy and join your voice in the political arena by becoming an advocate for oncology nursing.