Former President Invoice Clinton visits Johns Hopkins, urges swift motion on opioid epidemic


Saralyn Cruickshank


Oct 30, 2017

Among the many most pressing actions the nation can take to fight the opioid disaster in America is to erase the stigma of dependancy, former President Invoice Clinton mentioned Monday on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being throughout a discussion board on the deepening epidemic.

“The epidemic has grown like wildfire in small cities and rural areas with no public well being infrastructure, the place folks do not know what to do, or cannot do it in the event that they know.”

Former President Invoice Clinton

Stigma prevents addicts and their households from in search of remedy and accessing sources, he mentioned. It retains victims silent, and it retains well being care suppliers from successfully advocating for funding for confirmed remedy strategies.

Opioid-related drug deaths are actually the main reason for dying of Individuals below the age of 50. In 2016, drug abuse claimed the lives of an estimated 64,000 folks, greater than half of them from opioid-related overdoses. That is greater than the variety of deaths attributable to AIDS earlier than it was handled, greater than the variety of gun-related homicides, and greater than the variety of deaths attributable to vehicle accidents, Clinton mentioned.

Habit has devastated a bit of rural America that already has restricted entry to well being sources.

“The epidemic has grown like wildfire in small cities and rural areas with no public well being infrastructure, the place folks do not know what to do, or cannot do it in the event that they know,” Clinton mentioned.

Monday’s occasion, America’s Opioid Epidemic: From Proof to Influence, introduced collectively public officers, well being care specialists, and members of legislation enforcement for a dialogue of the opioid epidemic and options for a public well being response. The summit additionally supplied a dialogue of a report launched Saturday by researchers from the Bloomberg Faculty in collaboration with the Clinton Basis outlining 10 precedence suggestions for combating opioid abuse.

Ellen MacKenzie (left), dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, shakes hands with former President Bill Clinton

Picture caption:
Ellen MacKenzie (left), dean of the Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being, shakes palms with former President Invoice Clinton

Picture credit score: Larry Canner / Homewood Pictures

“[The opioid epidemic] is a nationwide disaster that calls for involvement from all ranges of presidency, private and non-private organizations, in addition to from particular person residents,” mentioned Ellen MacKenzie, the newly appointed dean of the Bloomberg Faculty, in her opening remarks. “Every single day, practically 100 die from opioid overdose. Over the past 15 years, the dying charge from opioid overdose has tripled.”

Clinton advocated for a coordinated public well being response and for a communications technique to fight the stigma badociated to drug dependancy.

“That is nothing to be ashamed of—it is an issue, it is a well being downside, and now we have to hammer that [message],” he mentioned. “And employers must hammer that [message]. They should say ‘No, you will not lose your job until you are too bull-headed to get badist, to avoid wasting your life, to avoid wasting your loved ones, to avoid wasting your child’s future.’ We’d like the identical message to exit in every single place in a simple approach.”

In a later panel dialogue, an identical method to combating stigma was championed by Tom Synan, chief of police in Newton, Ohio.

“One of many issues that I feel would shift [this epidemic] dramatically is to cease treating dependancy as against the law,” Synan mentioned. “Take it out of the prison justice system, put it into the psychological and medical well being system. … We won’t get previous any of this till we get previous the half the place everybody thinks the person is a prison. They don’t seem to be.”

He added: “Stigma. It is one of many largest issues blocking us proper now.”

Different audio system on the summit included:

  • Michael Botticelli, govt director of the Grayken Middle for Habit at Boston Medical Middle; Distinguished Coverage Scholar within the Bloomberg Faculty’s Division of Well being Coverage and Administration; and former director of Nationwide Drug Management Coverage
  • Elijah Cummings, U.S. congressman, Maryland’s seventh District
  • Tom Geddes, CEO of Plank Industries
  • Jim Hood, CEO of Going through Habit
  • Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Academics
  • Leana Wen, Baltimore Metropolis well being commissioner
  • Erica Poellot, director of improvement on the Hurt Discount Coalition
  • G. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Middle for Drug Security and Effectiveness
  • Andrea Gielen, director of the Johns Hopkins Middle for Harm Analysis and Coverage
  • Carol Forster, doctor director, Pharmacy & Therapeutics/Remedy Security, on the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group

.@DrLeanaWen shares three issues that we will do to handle the opioid epidemic #OpioidSummit

— Clinton Basis (@ClintonFdn) October 30, 2017

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