Opioids

Dear Research Advocate, Welcome to our last letter of 2021. It's been a packed year; one marked by continued challenges along with strong doses of progress and opportunity. Washington is slowing down; it’s a time to gather our strength to face the year ahead with boldness and vigor. The House and Senate adjourned for the year without enacting Build Back Better legislation or completing this year’s appropriations. We ask you to join us as we continue to urge Congress to pass FY22 appropriations as soon as possible. Today is day 83 of operating under an outdated budget. Every day without a new budget stymies lifesaving medical and public health progress. Progress, Challenges: Even while we...
Dear Research Advocate, A year ago this week, the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. (outside of a clinical trial). Tragically, more than 800,000 individuals have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. alone, but an estimated 1.1 million lives in the U.S. have been saved because of the accelerated vaccination effort. The unprecedented feat of developing a vaccine in less than 12 months demonstrates the incredible power of research coupled with public health rigor and vigilance. We need more of both, without delay. Just the Facts: In pandemic response, the knowledge gained from real-time public health response and ongoing research (when that knowledge isn’t exploited for political or...
Dear Research Advocate, “Medical research should never be partisan. It should never get caught up in culture wars or tribal disagreements,” said Francis Collins, MD, PhD, in an interview this week. As Dr. Collins prepares to complete his tenure as NIH Director, he’s sharing lessons learned and advice for the future on issues including science communication and health inequities. There’s another important conversation with Dr. Collins in JAMA. We are deeply honored that Dr. Collins will join us at our 2022 Advocacy Awards program on March 16 to receive the John Edward Porter Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie . It was announced today that Lawrence A. Tabak, DDS, PhD, a highly...
Dear Research Advocate, Yesterday, the Senate passed a sweeping opioid package ( H.R. 6 ), previously passed by the House, and sent it to the President for his signature. It includes intensified research into new pain management therapies that factor importantly into a broad array of opioid response strategies. This can’t come too soon: according to a recent study from AHRQ, there were nearly 125,000 opioid-related hospitalizations among older Americans in 2015; more Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 than the number of American lives lost -- 58,200 -- in the entirety of the Vietnam War. The opioid legislation is an excellent example of much needed bipartisanship; the FY19 Labor-H/...
In a keynote address at a forum in Washington, D.C. on April 2 to launch National Public Health Week, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams reinforced the need for more partnerships between public health experts and the communities that they serve. “You’ll never hear me say as a public health advocate that we don’t want or need more funding,” he said. “You will never hear me say that we don’t need more expertise, that we don’t need more studies, that we don’t need more science. But we can have a tremendous impact if we focus less on what we don’t have, and focus more on better engaging partners.” Dr. Adams said understanding how local communities think and feel is key to addressing the...
On February 12–13, the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy organized the 11 th annual edition of the “Headache on the Hill.” This is a unique opportunity for patients and their families, headache providers and scientists to interact with legislators and advocate for pressing issues in the field. The single most important problem to address has been identified, and solutions for it have been proposed under a bipartisan bill introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives as the Opioids and Stop Pain Initiative Act (S.2260/H.R. 4733). The annual societal cost of the pain and opioid crisis has been estimated at $1.1 trillion per year, making it the most costly U.S. health...
Research!America’s webinars in 2017 tackled a variety of timely health and policy issues, such as the nation’s opioid crisis which accounts for six out of 10 drug overdose deaths, the vital role of federally supported global health research, and the importance of effective communication in educating the public and lawmakers about the far-reaching benefits of public and private sector research. Scientists, students, advocates, influencers, decision-makers and media participated in the webinars, which provided relevant and detailed information to raise awareness and inform advocacy initiatives. On December 4, Research!America and the Society for Neuroscience hosted the webinar “Leveraging...
Dear Research Advocate: The opioid crisis is responsible for an estimated 1,000 emergency department visits every day in the United States. That is just one of the alarming, and heartbreaking, statistics that has stayed with me since our webinar on the crisis. If you couldn’t join us for it, I promise it is well worth viewing. The opioid epidemic, as well as the local economic impact of higher education and research and innovation, were prominent themes at a health research forum we co-hosted at Shepherd University in West Virginia on Monday. Shepherd President, Dr. Mary Hendrix, a Research!America board member, welcomed attendees and introduced West Virginia’s senators. Sen. Joe Manchin (D...
Deaths from drug overdoses are at an all-time high in the United States, with opiate abuse – both prescription and illicit – the main cause of these fatalities. Opioids were responsible for more than 30,000 deaths in 2015, representing a quadrupling of opioid-related fatalities since 1999. The concerted efforts of academic researchers, public health officials, and pharmacists are vital to the development of preventative strategies and accessible and effective treatments for opioid abuse disorder. Speakers for Research!America’s webinar "Innovative Research and the Opioid Epidemic: Are We Closer to Finding Solutions?" on October 13, discussed how medical science and public health are...
The percentage of working-age civilians in West Virginia who are employed has dropped below 50% for the first time in decades, partly due to a steep rise in opioid addiction across the state, said Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) during Research!America’s program “West Virginia Research and Innovation: A Catalyst for Better Health and Economic Growth” on October 16 at Shepherd University. Sen. Manchin and other speakers at the event discussed possible solutions to West Virginia’s opioid crisis and ways to reposition the state as a regional and national research leader. “We’ve got thousands and thousands of jobs in West Virginia going unfulfilled,” Manchin said. “Every job fair we had over 100...

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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor