Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

Prescription drug abuse has reached epic proportions in the United States. Efforts have been made to help combat this growing issue. In 2016, President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to reclassify drug abuse as a disease instead of a crime.  

Additionally, millions of federal aid dollars were set aside to help fight the epidemic. During the 2016 presidential campaign, both candidates promoted the issue and pledged to devote federal funds to address opioid addiction. In April 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price 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,” Price said.

He outlined fives priorities the HHS will concentrate on.

  • Improving access to treatment and recovery services
  • Promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  • Strengthening 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

ONS supports this effort and will continue to educate lawmakers on the importance of access to prescription medications for patients with cancer who need pain management, palliative care, and hospice treatment.