We are grateful that the White House recognizes that we are in the grip of a public health crisis of epidemic proportions. The President’s decision to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency yesterday may help bring crucial resources to communities, improve access to services, and facilitate more efficient coordination among government agencies.
We must remain ever mindful that substance use disorder is not a crime, and our history of responding with incarceration and diminishing resources achieved no positive results. Substance use disorder is a preventable and treatable chronic brain disorder.
We envision a response that includes but is not limited to:
- Innovative, assertive, and persistent prevention strategies;
- Harm reduction;
- Access to an adequate and appropriate menu of treatment services on demand;
- Robust community-based recovery support services for individuals and families;
- Opportunities for people in recovery from substance use disorder to live full lives.
We at Addiction Professionals of North Carolina continue to advance policy, services, and professional development that reflect the highest standards of the prevention, treatment, and recovery profession. We stand ready to serve as a trusted partner for federal and state agencies responsible for implementing yesterday’s announcement.
Donald McDonald, MSW, LCAS