CENTER CITY, MINN. (February 23, 2016) — The Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy joins the nation's governors in urging federal policymakers to take aggressive bipartisan action to confront America's heroin and prescription opioid crisis.
At its annual Winter Meeting held this past weekend in Washington, D.C., the National Governors Association discussed 18 policy priorities that require federal action or support and called on Congress and the Obama Administration to act swiftly on them.
"Leaders in Washington have been hearing from advocates like us and from families tragically affected by the opioid crisis for a couple of years. Now that they're also hearing from our nation's bipartisan collection of governors, it is time to act," said Nick Motu, vice president of the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy.
"The governors' call for movement on this important issue is a critical step, potentially paving the way for political consensus around, not just action, but the bold action we need."
Addiction to opioids - the class of drugs that includes heroin and pain medications like hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine - has increased dramatically since 1999, right along with the number of prescriptions written. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in America, ahead of even automobile crashes, with 78 people dying every day from opioids alone.
"The Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy has focused on the opioid addiction issue because of the devastating effects we see every day at our Foundation's treatment facilities and in our communities," said Motu.
"After 15 months of policy and public education campaigns in Washington and throughout the country, we are grateful to now stand united with the nation's governors," Motu added. "While the governors have been taking strong actions of their own, they need the financial and coordinating support of the federal government, as well as private sector partners like us."
In its FY2017 budget proposal, the White House has proposed a $1.1 billion increase in spending to help confront the opioid crisis. Meanwhile, Congress is considering a number of opioid-related proposals, including the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and a $600 million request for emergency spending. Various initiatives address everything from improving prescriber education to strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs and expanding access to evidence-based addiction treatments.
"Turning the tide on this public health crisis requires a comprehensive federal response," Motu said. "There is no silver bullet, and that's why you see an 18-point plan from the governors, which in many ways mirrors the policy priorities we outlined at the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy.
"We can overcome what may very well be the worst drug epidemic in American history," Motu added. "But as the nation's governors so helpfully highlighted, we have a lot of work to do, and we need to do it together."
About the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy
Our mission is to provide a leading national voice on all issues related to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery and to facilitate conversation among those in recovery, those still suffering and society at large. We are committed to smashing stigma, shaping public policy and educating people everywhere about the problems of addiction and the promise of recovery.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy is part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the nation's largest nonprofit treatment provider. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation has 16 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas. Learn more at www.HBFinstitute.org.