Opioid Panel Seeks Federal Drug Courts Nationwide

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President Trump’s opioid commission recommended dozens of sweeping policy changes to address the nation’s addiction epidemic, including establishing federal drug courts in all 93 judicial districts and requiring medical education for all opioid prescribers, USA Today reports. In its final report, the commission called on Congress and the Trump administration to take more than 50 specific steps it said would result in expanded treatment, stronger prevention, and saved lives. “Our people are dying — 175 people a day, every day, are dying … from this epidemic,” said chairman Chris Christie. “It is unacceptable … not to step up to the fight and do everything that needs to be done to stop the dying and stop the suffering.”

Whether federal policymakers will act on the commission’s 131-page report, particularly some of its more expensive and contentious proposals, remains to be seen. Some advocates said the recommendations, while important, would not do enough to close a huge treatment gap for people in desperate need. “While the report recommends some positive steps forward, it starves the country for the real resources it needs to save American lives,” said Chuck Ingoglia of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “If there is no treatment available for Americans, how are we going to cure the epidemic?” The commission’s report did not include a price tag for its menu of recommendations. And while it called for more resources for everything from research to treatment, it did not endorse specific dollar amounts for those efforts. One of the 56 policy changes recommended is creating uniform block grants for all federal opioid and substance abuse funding, making it easier for states to navigate the many grant programs available across several federal agencies.

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