Drug overdose has now surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States. Every day in the United States, 44 people die as a result of prescription opioid overdose. When this many lives are affected by addiction and substance abuse, it’s clear we must take action to improve treatment options and prevent drug overdose.
To address this problem in Ohio and across the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced plans to launch a targeted initiative aimed at reducing prescription opioid and heroin related overdose, death, and dependence. Specifically, HHS will provide federal support for the development and distribution of naloxone, a medicine which helps reverse overdoses. Last December, I wrote to HHS urging them to make this investment to prevent deaths from prescription drug overdose. This announcement is a great step toward tackling overdose – but we must do more to address this public health challenge.