After one month in office, we see that President Trump is a man of action who keeps his promises to the American people. And while there is deep division in Washington, ending the opioid epidemic is one part of Trump’s agenda on which Democrats and Republicans can come together.
Opioid addiction impacts us all. Patrick Kennedy, Van Jones and I are advisors to Advocates for Opioid Recovery. “Let’s Trump Addiction” is our latest effort to build support for ending the opioid crisis in America by promoting medication-assisted treatment. We are raising awareness on this issue leading up to February 28 when President Trump will detail his agenda before a Joint Session of Congress for the first time. We are certain to hear more about President Trump’s bold plan to make America great again, and I expect breaking down barriers to successfully treating opioid addiction will be a part of it.
But we need your help. I encourage you to visit Opioid Recovery and urge President Trump to take action and end the opioid crisis in America.
Addiction is a disease to which many are genetically predisposed. For far too long, the health care system has treated physical health and mental health differently. Despite two parity laws in 1996 and 2008 – the first of which I was able to help pass as Speaker of the House – the disparity in treatment still exists. Insurance companies are still skirting these laws by restricting patient access to medication-based treatment by forcing them to get preauthorization first or requiring them to “fail first” – in other words, overdose – before being eligible for medication. But insurance companies aren’t the only hurdle. The federal government unfairly caps providers on the number of opioid addicted patients they can treat with medication for fear the medication itself will end up on the streets. The reality is there are new injectable and implantable medications that render these concerns nearly obsolete.
Ninety-one Americans lose their battles with opioid addiction every day. For the first time since the invention of the automobile, car accidents are not the number one cause of accidental death in America—that distinction now belongs to drug overdoses. While medication is the standard treatment for nearly every other disease, only 3 percent of people receive medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. This is profoundly wrong. But there are solutions – and actions President Trump and the Congress can take – which can make an immediate difference. Every day counts.
Newt Gingrich is a former Speaker of the House.
Watch the video below to learn more about what is wrong with the system and how we can fix it. And please, join me in supporting President Trump on his mission to solve the opioid crisis.