New Initiatives from Obama Administration to Address Prescription Drug Abuse

The President announced on October 21, 2015, that new public and private sector efforts would be launched to address a nationwide scourge – prescription drug abuse and the use of heroine. The initiatives include setting up multimedia spaces funded by TV networks, news outlets, and internet service providers to provide public service announcements alerting people to the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

Parts of these efforts come in the form of a Presidential Memorandum to federal agencies calling for more training on how to properly prescribe controlled substances. The memo also asserts that there must be better access to treatment programs in case someone gets caught in a cycle of prescription drug abuse and addiction.

To fulfill those goals, there have been numerous plans put in place at the federal, state, and private level to place more controls on prescriptions while also supporting treatment for those who abuse opioids. The number of providers allowed to administer naloxone, a drug shown to mitigate and reverse an opioid overdose, has been doubled in response to these new initiatives. Over 4 million clinics, hospitals, and medical centers, as well as the physicians that work within them, will be receiving training to pass onto patients about the dangers of opioid overdoses.

Multiple athletic associations are taking steps to increase awareness about opioid abuse, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association. New programs will be launching to educate students about how to avoid and deal with drug misuse.

These efforts build upon previous efforts by the Obama Administration to address issues related to prescription drug abuse. In 2010, the Administration released the National Drug Control Strategy, the first in a series of efforts to address the issue. The Obama Administration has committed more than $130 million to these continued efforts, introducing programs at the state level to prevent drug abuse and overdose.