October 25, 2017
The growing crisis of the U.S. opioid epidemic affects all of us, not just those caught in its grip. It is destroying lives, ripping families apart, weakening our communities, and preventing our country from taking full advantage of our greatest resource – our people. We ignore the problem at our peril. We can't afford to lose a single person. There is no single solution to this grave public health threat, but we know where to start. First, we must acknowledge that opioid addiction is a disease that requires comprehensive treatment. Closing the path to addiction means addressing the overprescription of legal opioids and the proliferation of illegal opioids such as heroin and drugs laced with fentanyl. We also have to build the public health response so that families, first responders, and community groups have the support necessary to turn the tide on the epidemic, and in the meantime don't have to bear an impossible economic and emotional burden. This report contains specific, proven recommendations for how to most effectively combat the epidemic – from allowing physicians to more effectively treat those suffering from addiction; to expanding coverage and accessibility of opioid overdose reversal drugs like naloxone; to changing the way that healthcare professionals, employers, and advocates talk about addiction to reduce stigma. These recommendations are a critical map for everyone working to fight the opioid crisis in America. We all have a part to play. At the Clinton Foundation, we have worked since 2012 to help prevent overdose deaths, increase awareness and understanding of the scale of the problem, and frame this as a public health issue. Moving forward, it's up to all of us – leaders from the advocacy, nonprofit, government, and business sectors – to act together. By prioritizing this issue and advancing these recommendations, we can prevent more lives from being lost to this epidemic and ensure a brighter future for all Americans.