Lupin 2023

Trumps unveils war on opioid abuse

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WASHINGTON — Last month, President Trump unveiled his plan to fight the nationwide opioid crisis. The departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice are the two agencies charged with leading the effort and executing the president’s plan.

The goals of the new plan, according to the White House, are threefold: to reduce drug demand through education, awareness and preventing overprescribing; cut off the flow of illicit drugs across the country’s borders and within communities; and save lives by expanding opportunities for proven treatments for opioid and other drug addictions.

While speaking in New Hampshire, a state ravaged by the opioid epidemic, Trump expressed his view that cracking down on dealers had to be part of the mix. “If we don’t get tougher on drug dealers, we are wasting our time,” Trump said, adding that the death penalty should be on the table for some traffickers.

While some have criticized the president for this hard-line stance and for what they see as the plan’s lack of detail, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and other groups have applauded the plan as a much-needed response from Washington. “NACDS commends President Trump’s leadership, and that of bipartisan members of Congress, in working toward more comprehensive policies to address the opioid abuse epidemic,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. “Key elements of President Trump’s plan, and legislative proposals under consideration in Congress, are consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations. These recommendations are based on pharmacists’ experiences on the front lines of health care delivery.”

On the pharmacy side, the Stop Opioids Abuse initiative, NACDS pointed out, includes a Safer Prescribing Plan to cut national opioid prescription fills by a third within three years. The plan also aims to ensure that 75% of opioid prescriptions reimbursed by federal health care programs are issued using best practices within three years (rising to 95% within five years); have at least half of all federally employed health providers adopt best practices for opioid prescribing within two years (climbing to 100% within five years); and leverage federal funding opportunities related to opioids to ensure that states transition to a nationally interoperable prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) network.

“NACDS urges policies related to accelerating electronic prescribing, limiting initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain, a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program and drug disposal,” Anderson noted. “Our policy recommendations in these areas build on pharmacy’s long-standing work in the areas of compliance programs, helping to pioneer and advance electronic prescribing, fostering safe prescription drug disposal, patient education, security initiatives, promoting naloxone access, stopping illegal online drug sellers and rogue clinics, and more.”

Among the pharmacy operators across the country engaging in the opioid fight is CVS Health, which recently launched two initiatives to combat the crisis in New Hampshire. The company has installed safe medication disposal units inside two CVS Pharmacy locations in the state, to help facilitate proper and timely disposal of opioids and other medications that could be diverted or misused if left in homes. In addition, the company has committed more than $60,000 in funding to three New Hampshire nonprofit organizations that are working to address and prevent opioid abuse.

“Pharmacists are one of the most accessible health care professionals in the community, where we have witnessed the impacts of the epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse,” said Thomas Davis, vice president of professional services at CVS Health.

CVS is also taking on the crisis across the country by using its resources and its presence in nearly 10,000 communities.

Another example is Walgreens’ #ItEndsWithUs campaign, which is designed to educate teens nationwide on the epidemic by providing resources and positive steps they can take in their communities. The services are all available at the #ItEndsWithUs hub at


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