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Opioid Epidemic

  • Trump Offers Tough Talk but Few Details in Unveiling Plan to Combat Opioids New York Times by Maggie Haberman, Abby Goodnough, and Katharine Q. Seelye —  President Trump made his first visit to New Hampshire since the 2016 campaign on Monday, unveiling a plan to combat the opioid epidemic that includes a push for the death penalty for drug dealers and a crackdown on illegal immigrants. Mr. Trump spoke in a state with the nation's third-highest rate of deaths from overdoses and where opioids are a potent political issue. In a speech at a community college here, he offered up more tough talk than he did specifics about his plan, or how he would pay for it. The plan says little about how addiction treatment would be expanded besides a vague goal of expanding access to "evidence-based addiction treatment" in every state, particularly for members of the military, for veterans and their families, and for people leaving jail or prison.

  • States: Federal Money for Opioid Crisis a Small Step Forward Associated Press by Geoff Mulvihill — The federal government will spend a record $4.6 billion this year to fight the nation’s deepening opioid crisis, which killed 42,000 Americans in 2016. But some advocates say the funding included in the spending plan the president signed Friday is not nearly enough to establish the kind of treatment system needed to reverse the crisis. A White House report last fall put the cost to the country of the overdose epidemic at more than $500 billion a year. Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat who served on President Donald Trump’s opioid commission last year, said there are clear solutions but that Congress needs to devote more money to them. “We still have lacked the insight that this is a crisis, a cataclysmic crisis,” he said. By comparison, the Kaiser Family Foundation found the U.S. is spending more than $7 billion annually on discretionary domestic funding on AIDS, an epidemic with a death toll that peaked in 1995 at 43,000.

  • Omissions on Death Certificates Lead to Undercounting of Opioid Overdoses National Public Radio by Jake Harper - Standards for how to investigate and report on overdoses vary widely across states and counties. As a result, opioid overdose deaths aren't always captured in the data reported to the federal government. The country is undercounting opioid-related overdoses by 20 to 35 percent, according to a study published in February in the journal Addiction. Data from death certificates move from coroners and medical examiners to states and eventually the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which publishes reports on overdose counts across the U.S. According to the CDC, more than 42,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016, a 30 percent increase from the year before. But that number is only as good as the data states submit to the CDC.

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