United States Efforts
Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000
The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 is the act that allowed certified doctors to prescribe illegal drugs to opioid-dependent patients in order to combat addiction. This was a major act because it popularized the prescription of Buprenorphine, and 18 years later, it is still a top choice for physicians. Buprenorphine is so effective because it has a very low abuse rate due to the presence of Naloxone within it (The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment, n.d.). According to a study done by the United States Department of Health and Human Sciences, Buprenorphine saw an 80% success rate in reducing opioid use (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, 2018).
The Support for Patients and Communities Act of 2018
In October 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act of 2018. The act mainly focuses on hospitals and state health programs, and its goal is to make treatment more accessible throughout the United States. The Act aims to encourage hospitals to be more conservative when prescribing opioids for pain-relief by increasing the number of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). In addition, the new law will encourage identifying substance abuse by allowing doctors to look for symptoms at regular wellness checkups. Hospitals have been encouraged to view the act in its entirety on order to reach its full potential (The SUPPORT, 2018).
Federal Bureau of Investigation
In addition to outreach and education programs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation addresses the supply of opioids by targeting the violent crime organizations that distribute dangerous narcotics in the community. It is widely acknowledged in law enforcement that putting people in jail is not the only solution to the opioid epidemic. Because the epidemic is rooted in drug abuse and addiction, the demand for the drugs needs to be addressed. They use a task force model, which leverages the strengths of each of the local, state, and federal law enforcement partners who work as a team to investigate violent street gangs and drug related violence. These large FBI sponsored task forces can indict and prosecute using federal and state laws. Their mission is different than the Drug Enforcement Administration in that they target groups based on their level of violence, which is measured by the number murders, assaults, use of weapons, etc. during a drug deal, not simply the distribution. That being said, violence and distribution often go hand in hand, so the Bureau routinely partners with the Drug Enforcement Administration (T. Pullen, personal communication, November 2, 2018).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has used their national platform to shed light on the dangers of opioid abuse through awareness initiatives such as their video Chasing the Dragon: Life of an Opiate Addict (U.S. Department of Justice, n.d.).
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