“As the abuse of opioids – including heroin – has spread to new heights across the nation, you have rightly characterized this emerging threat as an ‘epidemic.’ I thank you for dedicating your personal attention and the resources of your agency to addressing this terrible problem that has taken too many lives and touched too many families,” Rogers stated to Director Frieden.
Rogers also thanked Dr. Frieden for his work in producing new Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
“These science-based and data-driven recommendations constitute a landmark achievement,” Rogers stated. “For too long, a narrow focus on opioids as a cure-all for pain and runaway prescribing have directly led to many of the 78 deaths each day from opioid and heroin overdoses. For the first time, doctors will have clear recommendations for what factors to consider before prescribing opioids, how much they should prescribe when warranted, how often they should check back in with their patients after sending them home, and how to respond if their patients succumb to addiction.”
During his hearing with DEA Acting Administrator Rosenberg, Rogers touted the success of Operation UNITE in Kentucky. Working with the DEA and local law enforcement, UNITE has cracked down on unscrupulous doctors, confiscated hundreds of thousands of diverted prescription drugs, and put over 4,300 drug dealers in jail.
Rogers discussed the DEA’s new “360 Strategy” to drive down the surge of heroin by attacking the supply chain, strengthening diversion control, and partnering with community leaders.
“What I particularly appreciate about this initiative is its holistic approach. I’ve repeatedly advocated for a broad, three-pronged strategy in which enforcement, treatment, and education work in unison to combat substance abuse. It would be easy to arrest the drug dealers victimizing our citizens and claim victory, but the reality is much more complex. By broadening your partnerships with communities across the nation, you’ll be working hand-in-hand with the people closest to the problem,” Rogers stated.
Rogers also thanked Administrator Rosenberg and Dr. Frieden for their participation in Operation UNITE’s National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta next week.
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