The attorneys general of Georgia and Florida welcomed the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis report released late Wednesday.
“Our office is looking forward to reviewing this important report,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said by email of the 131-page document. “We understand the commission, comprised of experts from all over the nation, has been gathering facts from all angles of the crisis, and we appreciate their hard work.”
Carr has spoken frequently around the state to groups fighting the addiction epidemic and heavily promoted the drug takeback event last Saturday targeting unnecessary pills in medicine cabinets. Sheriffs’ offices around the state have set up secure boxes for dropping off unneeded prescription drugs for safe disposal.
“As I have said before, this is an all-in issue,” Carr said. “The Georgia Statewide Opioid Task Force will continue to collaborate with local, state and federal partners to continue this fight until there are no more tears, no more heartaches and no more deaths as a result of this modern day epidemic.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a member of the commission, noted in a news release Wednesday that the group unanimously approved the findings.
“This report outlines a comprehensive approach to the nation’s most lethal public health epidemic in our country’s history—175 deaths a day,” Bondi said. “Addiction is a disease, and the report acknowledges this reality.”
The document details the history of addiction in America, laying responsibility at the feet of the medical profession, the health care industry and the pharmaceutical business for misinformation, misunderstanding and misuse of narcotic pain medicine.
Overuse of oxycodone and other narcotics “was promoted, not only by patients, but also by some physicians,” the report said, quoting “one notable physician” saying, “therapeutic use of opiate analgesics rarely results in addiction.”
The report also said one pharmaceutical company alone “sponsored over 20,000 educational events for physicians and others on managing pain with opioids, claiming their potential for addiction was low” when the opposite was already known to be true.
The report also prescribes a long list of actions to bring health care and medicine providers together to remedy the problem.
“We must dramatically expand drug treatment, change pain management practices to include non-opioid pain management treatments, do a better job of interdicting the supply of heroin and fentanyl into our country and implement a comprehensive national prevention campaign, among other things,” Bondi said. “This report lays the groundwork for such a comprehensive response by our nation to the opioid and drug abuse epidemic.”
A statement from the White House press secretary late Wednesday said the president’s team is also reviewing the report. “Due to a lack of attention for nearly a decade, this tragedy has devastated Americans and America’s communities for far too long,” the White House statement said. “The President has prioritized these crucial issues by declaring a nationwide public health emergency.”