Tag Archives: President Obama

President Signs Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act

carawhitehouseLast week President Obama signed into law Senate Bill 524, which is also known as the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA). It is targeted primarily at the nation’s opioid problem, and has been praised as a bipartisan effort to begin to work together toward providing more solutions to the plague of heroin and painkiller addiction.

However, in addition to the acknowledgment, the President also expressed discontent regarding the lack of funding being provided by Congress. He commented, “Given the scope of this crisis, some action is better than none. However, I am deeply disappointed that Republicans failed to provide any real resources for those seeking addiction treatment to get the care that they need…My Administration has been doing everything we can to increase access to treatment, and I’m going to continue fighting to secure the funding families desperately need. In recent days, the law enforcement community, advocates, physicians, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle have also joined in this call.”

In an NPR article about the Bill’s passage before it was signed into law, Senator Lamar Alexander (R – Tenn.) said that they have been increasing funding for treatment. “Our friends on the other side say, you have to fund it. We are funding it. And they helped fund it. We’ve increased funding for opioids already by 542 percent.”

Although it seems like there is a long way to go, hopefully the two parties can set their differences aside to help save more lives. The issue shouldn’t be a political one, and each side should look to come together to find ways to provide more funding for treatment. If one side is unwilling to spend more, but the other side is unwilling to cut elsewhere, then there should be a compromise of somewhere in between.

Macklemore Joins President Obama to Talk About Opioid Addiction

obamamacklemoreIn President Obama’s Weekly Address he decided to focus on substance abuse, taking on the topic of prescription opioids in particular. Joining him was Grammy award-winning artist Macklemore, who has previously shared information about his own recovery.

The President made it a point to discuss the rising statistics surrounding painkiller addiction by stating that overdose deaths have tripled since 2000. “A lot of the time, they’re from legal drugs prescribed by a doctor. So addiction doesn’t always start in some dark alley – it often starts in a medicine cabinet,” he said.

Adding to this, Macklemore said that he lost a friend of his to a painkiller overdose when he was 21. “Addiction is like any other disease,” said the artist, “it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what color you are, whether you’re a guy or a girl, rich or poor, whether you live in the inner-city, a suburb, or rural America. This doesn’t just happen to other people’s kids or in some other neighborhood.”

Macklemore stated that a treatment program and the 12 steps helped to save his life many years ago. Being a role model for millions of fans gives him the chance to be a strong advocate for recovery as well as substance abuse prevention.

A more in-depth interview between the two will air this summer on MTV as part of a special show about addiction.

The President Targets Opiate Addiction

obamaopioidsDespite the fact that elected officials in several states have openly vowed to address the prescription painkiller and heroin problems, there hasn’t been much talk coming from the White House on the subject. Some people in the drug rehab and prevention field have criticized the President for this, as the problem has escalated substantially over the last several years.

However, President Obama recently announced an initiative while at a public appearance in West Virginia that described an approach to target more of the system than individual users. For example, there is the commitment that more than half a million healthcare professionals will complete opioid prescriber training over the next two years. This is an effort to reduce the unnecessarily large amount of opioids being given to people, especially when other treatments might be more effective and much less dangerous.

At the same time, the White House aims to double the number of doctors who are certified to prescribe buprenorphine for opiod addiction over the next three years. That would push the total to around 60,000 physicians. Additionally, the intent is to double the number of providers that prescribe naloxone and the number who are registered with their prescription drug monitoring programs.

“More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do from motor vehicle crashes,” Mr. Obama said. “The majority of those overdoses involve legal prescription drugs. I don’t have to tell you, this is a terrible toll.”

Many in the treatment industry are applauding these efforts, but some are wondering if they are sufficient considering the size of the problem.

The nation is currently in the process of a drug policy overhaul, and the heroin and prescription narcotic crisis is one of the main catalysts forcing this change. It will take a major commitment on many fronts to have a significant impact and reverse the trends, though there are some recent signs that opioid addiction may at least be leveling off instead of increasing.

Of course on an individual level, finding a successful treatment program like Genesis House is one of the most effective first steps toward ending the abuse.