The Opioid Crisis: What is the Government Doing About It?

There can be little doubt that the opioid crisis has reached staggering levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics from 2016 reveal that on average, opioids killed about 115 Americans every day.[1] Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50, with opioids accounting for two-thirds of those overdose-related deaths.[2] It goes without saying that workers’ compensation claimants are particularly vulnerable to opioid addiction due to the high incidence of prescription drug utilization in this population. In October 2017, President Trump directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency.  Earlier this year, HHS revealed a five-point strategy to be used in the fight against opioids.   The five-point strategy consists of the following themes: improving access to treatment and recovery services, using data to better understand the…

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