The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that more than 93,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2020. This is, by far, the largest number on record. Of these deaths, approximately 70,000 – three-quarters of them – involved some form of opioids. Clearly, the nation’s opioid use disorder crisis continues in full effect.
The CDC correctly points to the rise in illicit and synthetic opioids as being largely responsible for these record-breaking numbers. Unfortunately, for far too many, the path to addiction starts with prescription opioid pills.
Last week, the United States Senate joined the House of Representatives in returning home for the August work period. Now, all eyes in Washington, DC are on what lays ahead in the rest of the calendar year, including whether and how Congress will work to address the mental health and substance use disorder crisis in America.
To date, relatively little Congressional attention has focused on opportunities to prevent opioid use disorders in the United States. One way, we believe, to accomplish this would be to minimize unnecessary exposure to prescription opioid pills for surgery patients, where we can and where it is clinically appropriate. In doing so, we could get a better handle on preventing the more than 3 million Americans who go on to long-term opioid use following a surgical procedure.
One way to accomplish this would be to pass the Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act. This first-of-its-kind legislation aims to prevent opioid addiction by increasing access to and utilization of non-opioid based pain management approaches for acute pain patients. The legislation has the opportunity to prevent long-term opioid use in millions of Americans by minimizing unnecessary exposure to prescription opioids.
The legislation is supported by a wide array of Members of Congress, from both chambers, and from both political parties. But we need more! If we are to see this legislation over the finish line, we need to demonstrate robust Congressional support for the NOPAIN Act.
How do we do this?
Well, that’s where we are hoping for your support. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about issues that matter to them. So, we hope that you will raise your hand and voice your support for the NOPAIN Act. Doing so is easy – simply click here (www.nonopioidchoices.org/action-center/).
We need your help. Together, we can make a difference and save countless American lives!