On Friday June 16, 2017 the newly formed Opioid Commission held their first meeting in the White House. It was attended by some of the more influential players from within Donald Trumps’s circle. Most notably at the helm of the meeting was Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey who is the chairman of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. 

Notable Attendees:

  • Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • David Shulkin, Secretary of Veteran Affairs
  • Kellyanne Conway, Trump Adviser 
  • Jared Kushner, Senior Trump Adviser 
  • Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts
  • Roy Cooper, Governor of North Carolina
  • Patrick Kennedy, former congressman
  • Dr. Bertha Madras,  Harvard Medical Professional

Given the list of names and considering the seriousness of the problem United States is facing with the opioid crisis it appears that this administration is ramping up its efforts in fighting, treating and preventing addiction in the USA.  

However, many addiction recovery specialist are skeptical. Time will tell how effective this commission is in tackling the opioid epidemic. This was only the first meeting and so the American public still will have to wait for any substantial results. These are serious matters so time is an obvious factor. This session began with discussing some finer points in regard to the opioid crisis.

Points of Discussion: 

  • Lack of resources for treatment.
  • The disparity between each states available treatment centres.
  • Make addiction treatment options available to everyone.
  • The parity between mental health and substance abuse.

The commission, established by President Donald Trump by way of an executive order he signed on March 29, was drawn to “combat and treat the scourge of drug abuse, addiction, and the opioid crisis,” according to the information found on their website.

However it is a major concern of many of the professional people who work in treatment centres in the United States. Their concern is that Trump’s policies  are poised to cut back on billions of dollars for Medicaid. This policy will be massively detrimental to the battle with opioids. As well, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s hope to adopt a policy on mandatory sentences for drug offenders, has raised many eyebrows and has also come with much opposition.

In the midst of all this controversy are the addicts and the people who treat them. For these individuals the balance of life and death is acutely tangible.  A lack of resources will be subsequently debilitating physically and mentally. Unfortunately the narrow-minded politics are more or less diminishing the quality to the overall treatment recovery arena. Perhaps in the long it is likely their efforts will cause more damage than good.

The Real Numbers

  • 91 US Citizens die everyday from opioids. (CDC)
  • Only one person out of ten have access to treatment. (CDC)