NACDS has long been committed to curbing and preventing opioid abuse, most recently backing legislation—the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act—which were both signed into law by the president this year.
Both bills are consistent with NACDS’ position that the complexity of these issues demands a 100-percent commitment to patient care and zero tolerance for abuse.
A new CDC study adds a level of urgency to the issue by revealing that prescription opioid overdose, abuse and dependence cost the U.S. $78.5 billion. According to the study published in the journal Medical Care, over one-third of this amount was due to increased healthcare and substance abuse treatment costs. One-quarter of this amount was paid by the public sector in healthcare, substance abuse treatment and criminal justice costs. Nearly two-thirds of the total economic burden was due to healthcare, substance abuse treatment and lost productivity for nonfatal cases.
Based on the latest data, nearly two million Americans met criteria for prescription opioid abuse and dependence in 2013.
The staggering economic and personal costs of the opioid abuse epidemic point to a compelling need for ongoing advocacy to ensure patients have access to legitimately needed drugs, while also preventing diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.