Press Room

New Opioid Reports Support ASTHO Call for Increased Investment in Prevention

ARLINGTON, VA (Nov. 21, 2017)Two reports released this week highlight the continued need for additional resources to combat the national opioid epidemic. A report released by Trust for America’s Health estimates that deaths from drugs, suicide, and alcohol combined are projected to increase 41 percent nationwide in the next 10 years without additional investment in prevention. Additionally, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors reports that the economic cost of the opioid epidemic has been underestimated, with the true cost now projected at $504 billion—six times more than originally thought.

“The cost of this crisis is staggering—not only in terms of dollars, but also in terms of the suffering, loss, and grief sustained by our nation’s families,” says ASTHO Executive Director Michael Fraser. “Investments in treatment and prevention are what is needed to turn the tide on this epidemic. We urge Congress to act swiftly to fund the many important priorities identified in the President’s Commission report as soon as possible, with a special emphasis on preventing substance misuse and addiction.

“While we applaud the administration for bringing national attention to the opioid crisis, more investment in public health prevention is needed. State and territorial health agencies are partners on the front lines of this epidemic, but they won’t be able to maintain momentum without additional investment in evidence-based prevention programs. You don’t end an epidemic without preventing it. We must ramp up efforts now so that public health professionals at the state and local levels can continue to compile data, connect providers, communities, and patients, and innovate to better understand overdose hot spots and save lives.”

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ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in state-based public health practice.

Call ASTHO's main phone line at (202) 371-9090 or contact Jane Esworthy, (571) 318-5431. Follow us on Twitter