"Illicit drug use is a burgeoning problem that adversely affects individuals as well as their families, their communities, and the nation. According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 47,055 people died of drug overdoses in the United States in 2014--more than any previous year on record. The use of opioids--in particular, heroin and prescription pain relievers--has driven a significant increase in drug overdose deaths. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the most effective way to mitigate the costs associated with illicit drug use is through prevention. GAO [Government Accountability Office] convened and moderated a panel of education, health care, and law enforcement officials on June 22, 2016 to discuss: 1) common factors related to illicit drug use; 2) strategies in the education, health care, and law enforcement sectors to prevent illicit drug use; and 3) high priority areas for future action to prevent illicit drug use. With assistance from the National Academy of Sciences, GAO selected the participants, including federal officials, public health and drug policy experts, physicians, law enforcement representatives, and educators. The viewpoints summarized in the report do not necessarily represent the views of all participants, their organizations, or GAO. GAO provided participants the opportunity to review a summary of key points from the forum and incorporated their comments as appropriate prior to publishing this report."
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