WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House published a new report Tuesday on what needs to be done to combat the opioid epidemic.
The Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking is made up of eight government groups and agencies, including the DEA, Department of Defense and Homeland Security.
The 70-page report recommends five “pillars” for government action, including:
— Elevating the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to act as the nerve center for far-flung federal efforts, and restoring Cabinet rank to its director.
— Disrupting the supply of drugs through better-coordinated law enforcement actions.
— Reducing the demand for illicit drugs through treatment and by efforts to mitigate the harm to people addicted. Treatment programs should follow science-based “best practices.”
— Using diplomacy to enlist help from other governments in cutting off the supply of chemicals that criminal networks use to manufacture fentanyl.
— Developing surveillance and data analysis tools to spot new trends in illicit drug use before they morph into major problems for society.
The report also revealed more than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses between 2020 and 2021.
That translates to a 30% increase from the previous year.
The report showed that opioid overdose deaths are not just tragic, but also deadly.
They are estimated to cost the economy $1 trillion each year.
That high number is attributed to health care and criminal justice costs.
The report comes about two months after President Joe Biden declared the illicit drug trade a national emergency.
In 2017, former President Donald Trump also called the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.