There is no doubt that the prescription drug epidemic spreading throughout the country is a serious situation. The issue once again made national news when President Trump declared it a public health emergency earlier this week, leading many Americans to question what, exactly, such a declaration will do to address opioid dependency nationwide. Similarly, Virginians are also debating what strategies might be the most efficient in combating the crisis.
Such strategies include closer physician intervention to monitor prescriptions and the president’s planned health funding for the emergency. Yet will these approaches prove successful, or are there other potential routes to solving the issue?
In June of this year, WCYB News showcased Virginia’s changing laws surrounding the prescription drug crisis, praising the state for wasting little time with addressing such serious matters. WCYB reveals that opioid drug prescriptions in the area have decreased in recent months, and that this good news has arrived just in time for new legislation to reach even further into helping addiction-stricken communities. Some lawmakers believe that supply sources are the root of the drug epidemic; as a result, the new legislation will require doctors to scrutinize the state-wide prescription monitoring program for recently prescribed controlled substances. Because many individuals first become addicted to doctor-prescribed opiates, lawmakers hope to see this strengthened monitoring system make a lasting effect.
More recently, Trump’s opioid crisis announcement this week has set an ambiguous tone in regards to how opiate addiction will be addressed directly. CNN Politics points out that, because the president deemed the situation a public health emergency instead of a national disaster declaration, funding may not be as sufficient as many believe is necessary for a situation of such grave extremes. However, there is support coming from both sides of the issue: while some criticize the plan for not taking immediate effect, others are optimistic that the future Public Health Emergency Fund will be a drastic improvement on the issue that has gripped society for far too long.