National Heroin Task Force Final Report and Recommendations   [open pdf - 870KB]

"The United States is in the grip of a national crisis - an unprecedented surge in the illicit use of prescription opioid medications and heroin. In 2014, 1.9 million people had a prescription opioid use disorder and nearly 600,000 had a heroin use disorder. The national data on overdose deaths are startling: in 2014, there were more than 27,000 overdose deaths involving prescription opioid medications and /or heroin. That is equivalent to an average of one death every 20 minutes. The opioid epidemic affects a broad cross-section of the United States population without regard to age, gender, race, ethnicity, or economic status. Living in a rural, suburban, or urban jurisdiction does not insulate an individual from the ravages of the opioid epidemic. Traditional law enforcement methods are a critical component of any counter-illicit drug strategy, but they will not resolve this crisis alone. The opioid crisis is also fundamentally a public health problem. […] The recommendations contained in this report are premised up on three principles: 1) public safety and public health authorities must integrate and harmonize their response to the misuse of prescription opioid medications and use of heroin; 2) policies regarding heroin use and misuse of prescription opioid medications must be grounded in a scientific understanding that substance use disorder is a chronic brain disease that can be prevented and treated; and 3) treatment and recovery services and support must be accessible and affordable."

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