The U.S. Has Two Opioid Epidemics: The Federal Response Should Consider Both

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<p>President Trump this week announced his proposal to combat the opioid epidemic. In a new <em>To the Point</em> post, the Commonwealth Fund’s Shanoor Seervai, Arnav Shah, and Eric Schneider, M.D., say those implementing the administration’s plan should acknowledge, however, that the United States no longer has just one deadly opioid epidemic but at least two.</p><p>The first, a prescription painkiller epidemic, has taken hold primarily in rural white communities among older adults. But a more recently emerging epidemic is occurring among younger adults who are victims of illegally produced opioids such as fentanyl. Urban communities of color have also recently witnessed a surge in deaths resulting from illegal opioids.</p>
<p>“The two-epidemic distinction may oversimplify the crisis, but as a guide to policy, it is a helpful frame to address the features and drivers of drug overdose among different demographic groups,” the authors say.</p> Read the post