October 27, 2017
Minnesota Health Commissioner Statement on Federal Opioid Announcement
Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger issued the following statement today regarding the federal government’s announcement of new steps to address the nation’s opioid crisis.
Opioid addiction is a serious public health problem with tragic consequences in Minnesota and around the country. Many steps have been taken to address this problem in our state, and more resources and actions are needed to reinforce and expand on those efforts. Unfortunately, today’s announcement by the Trump Administration does not appear to provide the right mix of actions and resources to have a significant and lasting impact.
It is important to understand that the crisis of opioid addiction does not occur in a vacuum. At the same time we are seeing an increase in opioid addictions and deaths, we are also seeing significant increases in alcohol and other substance abuse, mental health crises, suicides and other violent deaths. These are all diseases of disconnection and despair arising from the same set of community conditions – lack of connection, belonging and hope.
While we must directly address the issue of opioids, we also must address these underlying conditions through broader public health and community-building efforts. That includes working for stronger schools, safer neighborhoods, better access to transportation and a sustainable income for all Minnesotans. By taking this broader, more complete view of public health we can more effectively treat those impacted today and prevent more problems in the future.