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Capitol Health Call
July 14, 2015

Washington Shines a Light on Opioid Overdose

JAMA. 2015;314(2):115. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.7535

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky) and Sen Ed Markey (D, Mass) have written to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell urging her to request a report from Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, regarding drug overdose deaths, particularly those caused by prescription opioid analgesics and heroin (http://1.usa.gov/1IpWpUp).

“This crisis of opioid-related overdoses strikes without regard to geography, age, race, or socioeconomic status, and it requires an immediate and sustained response,” the senators wrote. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports a 3-fold increase in deaths related to prescription opioid pain relievers between 2001 and 2013 and a 5-fold increase in number of deaths related to heroin overdose in the same time period (http://1.usa.gov/1L3oCkB).