Report: Opioid fight requires new strategy and Cabinet leadership

WASHINGTON (AP), The U.S. requires a multipronged strategy, as well as Cabinet-level leadership, to combat its overdose epidemic. This is what a bipartisan congressional committee recommends.

Report: Opioid fight requires new strategy and Cabinet leadership

WASHINGTON (AP), The U.S. requires a multipronged strategy, as well as Cabinet-level leadership, to combat its overdose epidemic. This is what a bipartisan congressional committee recommends.

The scourge caused by opioids is expected to increase after the COVID-19 epidemic recedes. Experts in public health expect this shift to occur in the coming months.

In a 70-page report, the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking stated that "this is one of our greatest national security, law enforcement, and public health challenges, but we must do more as nations and governments to protect our most valuable resource -- American lives,".

This report proposes a dynamic strategy. It would use diplomacy and law enforcement to stop the supply of synthetic opioids. It would provide support and treatment for those who have become addicted to opioids, and create pathways that lead back into productive lives. It would also invest in research to understand the effects of addiction on the brain and develop treatment options for opioid abuse disorder.

For the past two years, the global coronavirus pandemic has been overshadowed by the American opioid epidemic. However, recent news about overdose deaths exceeding 100,000 in one year caught public attention. Politically, both the Obama administration and the Trump administrations supported federal legislation to address opioid addiction.

Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), a co-chair for the panel that produced this report, stated that he believes support is still there and that the issue appeals primarily to Biden's pragmatic side. Trone stated, "The president has been very clear." "These are two major problems in America: addiction, and mental health." Trone was accompanied by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark).

For decades, the U.S. government has waged a losing war on drugs.

With the availability of fentanyl (a synthetic painkiller 80-100 times stronger than morphine), the stakes are higher. You can make illicit pills that look like prescribed painkillers and anti-anxiety medications. Most of the chemical raw materials are made in China. Mexico's criminal networks control production and shipping to the U.S.

The federal anti-drug strategy has traditionally stressed law enforcement and long sentences in prison. This was viewed as counterproductive and biased racially. Drug use can be treated. Recent developments have highlighted the importance of treatment, with anti-addiction medications now available in large quantities alongside other strategies such as support groups.

Both law enforcement and treatment were praised in the report.

The report stated that "through its work, it came to recognize that it was impossible to reduce the availability of illegal synth opioids by focusing on supply alone."

It stated that "real progress can only be achieved by pairing illicit synth opioid supply disruption with decreasing domestic U.S. demande for these drugs."

Five "pillars" are recommended by the report for government action.

-- To elevate the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as the nerve center of federal efforts in far-flung areas, and to restore Cabinet rank to its Director.

-- Disrupting drug supply through more coordinated law enforcement actions

• Reducing illicit drug demand through treatment and efforts to reduce the harm to addicts. The science-based "best practices" should be followed by treatment programs.

Use diplomacy to get the support of other governments to reduce the supply of chemicals used by criminal networks to make fentanyl.

-- Develop surveillance and data analysis tools that can detect new trends in illicit drug usage before they become major problems for society.

High-ranking executive branch officials from law enforcement, Homeland Security, Homeland Security, Treasury, Homeland Security and Homeland Security were non-voting members of the commission's work. Biden officials claimed that he has already issued two executive order to combat fentanyl trafficking. They also called upon Congress to approve his $41 billion request for the overdose crisis.

The law enforcement response was stressed by Republican commission members in prepared statements. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) stated that "We must intensify our efforts to secure our border against illegal trafficking and target Mexican cartels flooding the streets with illicit opioids, and force China to crackdown upon their pharmaceutical industry supplying cartels using the base compounds used in the manufacture of synthetic opioids."

Trone stated that it will require cooperation from both political parties. He stated, "We must take this toxic atmosphere Washington and move beyond it." "Because 100,000 people, that's husbands, sisters, mothers, fathers. We are better as a nation than that.

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