The Crisis Next Door: President Donald J. Trump is Confronting an Opioid Crisis more Severe than Original Expectations
“Together, we will face this challenge as a national family with conviction, with unity, and with a commitment to love and support our neighbors in times of dire need. Working together, we will defeat this opioid epidemic.” – President Donald J. Trump
AMERICAN FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES DEVASTATED: New data compiled by President Donald J. Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) shows the costs of opioid abuse are much higher than previously thought.
• Opioid-involved overdose deaths doubled in the past ten years and quadrupled in the past sixteen years.
o The number of opioid-involved overdose deaths has risen by nearly one-third since 2013.
o This rise in overdose deaths involves fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid, and fentanyl analogs, most of which is believed to be illicitly imported.
• Evidence suggests that drug overdoses related to opioids are underreported by as much as 24 percent, which would raise the estimated 2015 opioid overdose death toll to over 40,000.
• Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, outnumbering traffic crashes or gun-related deaths.
o According to preliminary analysis, more than 64,000 lives were lost to drug overdoses in 2016, devastating American families and communities.
o This represents a rate of 175 deaths a day in 2016.
• Since 2000, over 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids.
THE TRUE ECONOMIC COST OF THE OPIOID CRISIS: The true cost of the opioid crisis has been greatly understated because the full loss of thousands of American lives was not accounted for.
• Using standard economic techniques, the CEA estimates the cost of the opioid crisis in 2015 to be $504 billion, or 2.8 percent of GDP, once the lives lost due to opioid overdoses are accounted for.
o The CEA’s high estimate puts the cost of opioid misuse at $622.1 billion while the most conservative estimate suggests the cost is $293.9 billion.
• CEA’s study included all opioid-involved losses, not solely losses caused by prescription opioids.
• The new cost estimates include nonfatal opioid abuse, which totaled $72.3 billion in 2015, according to the CEA.
o Consequences of nonfatal opioid abuse include billions in medical and addiction treatment costs, criminal justice costs, and the resulting decrease in productivity among users.
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS FIGHTING BACK: President Trump is taking the opioid crisis seriously, using the tools of government to aggressively confront opioid addiction.
• On October 26, President Trump directed the acting Secretary of Health and Human Services to declare a nationwide public health emergency to bring the full war chest of the U.S. government to fight the opioid crisis.
• The Trump Administration organized the most effective “Take Back Day” on record, collecting 456 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
• In March 2017, President Trump established the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, with the mission “to study the scope and effectiveness of the Federal response to drug addiction and the opioid crisis and to make recommendations to the President for improving that response.”
• Since President Trump took office, more than $1 billion in funding has been allocated or spent directly addressing the drug addiction and opioid crisis.
o Since April, more than $800 million has been distributed for prevention, treatment, first responders, prescription drug monitoring programs, recovery and other care in communities, inpatient settings, and correctional systems.
o Since the President took office, $254 million in funding for high-risk communities, law enforcement, and first responder coordination and work has been awarded.
• The Department of Justice’s Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit is targeting criminals and their networks that are contributing to the prescription opioid epidemic, has netted the largest-ever health care fraud takedown, secured the first-ever indictments against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers, and seized AlphaBay, the largest criminal marketplace on the Internet and a major source of fentanyl and heroin.
• The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs are collaborating on a six-year, $81 million joint research partnership focusing on nondrug approaches to managing pain in order to address the needs of service members and veterans.
• The Food and Drug Administration is imposing new requirements on the manufacturers of prescription opioids to help reverse the overprescribing that has fueled the crisis.
• The State Department has secured a binding U.N. agreement making it harder for criminals to access fentanyl precursors ANPP and NPP.