• New plan released in midst of opioid crisis in hopes of saving lives in 2019


    The opioid crisis is being called the worst drug problem in American history, with 1,233 people dying from opioid overdoses in Massachusetts from January to September in 2018.

    In hopes of saving lives in the new year, the Department of Health and Human Services released a new plan with five key points, focusing on better prevention, treatment and recovery.

    An estimated 130 people a day are dying from opioid-related drug overdoses, and the numbers continue to rise.

    Physician Admiral Brett Giroir, the senior opioid policy advisor to health and human services secretary Alex Azar, is leading the fight at the Department of Health and Human Services.

    "What we're currently facing, I think, is one of the most critical public health challenges of our time period," Giroir said. "We've lost more lives due to drugs than we have done in all our modern wars combined." 

    To combat the crisis, agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice are implementing new and creative policies to fight the scourge.

    The Department of Justice has proposed decreasing manufacturing quotas for opioid production in 2019, while the Department of Health and Human Services has $10 billion dollars and a five-point plan to attack the problem.

    They say the plan includes:

    -Better prevention, treatment and recovery services
    -Better data on the epidemic
    -Better pain management
    -Better targeting of overdose-reversing drugs
    -Better research on pain and addiction

    Local governments are even suing drug companies that manufacture opioids in order to help defer the cost of the crisis' plaguing their communities.

    >>RELATED: Opioid crisis remains top law enforcement priority, U.S. Attorney says

    The United States has been pushing China to better regulate fentanyl for years without much luck.

    A successful solution to the opioid crisis may not be that simple, as fentanyl sales and distribution are a huge industry for China, and weak regulations mean even if new laws were enacted, they may not be enforced.

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