Congress can help fight the opioid epidemic with funding for research
Regarding “We Didn’t Lose the War on Drugs, We Surrendered”(Oct. 22 Forum): Donald S. Burke’s urgent call to increase federal investments in research to find solutions to the opioid epidemic deserves immediate attention by policymakers.
A majority of Americans (59 percent) agree that increased funding for research will help us better understand and combat opioid addiction, according to a national survey commissioned by Research!America. It’s astonishing that funding has yet to reflect the enormity of this public health crisis, even as federal agencies do their best with limited resources to help reduce the rate of addiction.
The National Institutes of Health has established a public-private initiative to accelerate the development of innovative treatments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain that are being incorporated by medical and pharmacy schools.
While it is noteworthy that the White House declared the epidemic a national public health emergency, without a firm commitment to include funding for research, addiction in America could remain the status quo. We urge Congress to provide additional resources for research. It’s time for new ideas, the kind that come from putting innovative minds to work.
"Congress can help fight the opioid epidemic with funding for research," by Mary Woolley (the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 29, 2017)