A new commission set up by President Trump, will take aim at beating the growing opioid epidemic. Just last month, the President signed an executive order appointing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as head of the Commission to Combat Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The panel’s findings, due out this Fall, will have far-reaching effects for patients here in Florida.
The goal is to identify federal funding to address the epidemic, focusing on areas with limited drug treatment programs. The commission will also discuss the effectiveness of state drug monitoring programs, as well as the current federal opioid prescription guidelines that were just put into effect this past January by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Florida is one of the states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. According to the CDC, around 1.27 million Floridians are addicted to pain killers. In 2013 alone, an average of 5 people per day died from opioid overdoses in the state.
“The key to stopping this is really emphasizing responsible prescribing practices with physicians. Any doctor prescribing their patients narcotics should be checking the state drug monitoring system. They should also be requiring their patients to return for regular check-ups and drug tests as appropriate,” said Navdeep Jassal, M.D., a board-certified specialist in pain medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation at Florida Pain Medicine.
It’s something all of the physicians at Florida Pain Medicine take seriously. They also pass it on to their students in the University of South Florida Department of Neurology.
“As physicians, our patient’s safety has to be our top priority. Part of that is making sure that they are not at risk for becoming addicted to a controlled substance. The last administration did a lot to crack down on the opioid epidemic and really set standards for doctors. I think it is going to be interesting to see how President Trump’s commission builds on that, and pours money into helping patients.”