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

In the past few years, drug abuse and opioid addiction levels have grown to epidemic proportions. In 2016, Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to decriminalize drug use and reclassify addiction as a disease. After President Obama signed CARA into law, the bill allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to combat the epidemic, alongside funding for Americans in need of addiction treatment and support.

One of President Trump’s campaign promises was to address the national problem in his first year of office. His administration recently established the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Commission recently released a report providing policy suggestions to address the opioid epidemic.

According to the report, “The Commission urges Congress to respond to the president’s declaration of a public health emergency and fulfill their constitutionally delegated duty and appropriate sufficient funds to implement the Commission’s recommendations. 175 Americans are dying every day. Congress must act. Notwithstanding this core mission, it is vital to address the influences that transformed the United States into the world leader of opioid prescribing, opioid addiction, and opioid overdose deaths.”

The report concludes that abuse and addiction are pervasive and they are not relegated to any one demographic. Recommendations are extensive and will require Congressional support to begin. The health community is actively advocating for continued and increased funding to achieve these goals and has recognized this can only be reached with a concerted effort.

ONS continues to work with policy makers to identify and address the need for proper pain management medications in patients with cancer. Access to quality cancer care is one of ONS’s core positions, and the Society continues to advocate for oncology nurses and their patients.