Opioid abuse and addiction to illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl has become a nation-wide epidemic with a tremendous peril on human lives, the labor participation rate, businesses, and economic growth.
Just as there is no single cause and no single party responsible for the opioid epidemic, there is no single solution.
Successfully combatting this epidemic requires contributions from numerous stakeholders, including: insurers, physicians, federal regulatory agencies, law enforcement, and local communities. It also requires a broad range of policy changes, including:
- Expanding access to treatment
- Revising existing prescribing practices
- Expediting non-addictive alternatives for pain management
- Increasing the interdiction of illegal narcotics
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently convened leaders from government, nonprofits and industry to identify and pursue solutions to this national crisis at an all-day event entitled “Combating the Opioid Crisis: From Communities to the Capital.”
Since then, we have been pleased to see many of these ideas incorporated into the nearly 100 pieces of legislation that have been introduced in Congress.
A United Effort
The business community also has much to contribute to fighting this scourge – and companies across the country are already stepping up. From employers promoting National Drug Take Back Day to insurers and pharmacy companies limiting the duration of prescription opioids to distributors ensuring that prescription opioids are not diverted to illegal uses, the business community is committed to helping solve this crisis.
We know there is more to do and we stand ready to help.
We urge Congress to commit to addressing the totality of our nation's opioid epidemic—and to do so without delay.