Opioid addiction is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing the United States today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription painkillers and heroin are driving one of the deadliest drug epidemics in the nation’s history, claiming the lives of 78 Americans every day. The consequences of opioid addiction are reverberating throughout society, devastating families and overwhelming health care providers, law enforcement and social services, with particularly dire consequences for rural and underserved communities.
Turning the tide on the opioid epidemic will require a coordinated and aggressive response across all levels of government. Governors urge Congress and the Administration to act swiftly in addressing this national emergency by providing additional resources and taking the steps outlined below. Recognizing that government cannot tackle this issue alone, governors are also calling upon private sector partners — from manufacturers to pharmacies and health care providers — to be part of the solution. We cannot end the opioid crisis without their leadership in changing the way we treat pain and addiction.