With $25 billion per year. Given these realities, the

With over 40% of current overdose deaths resulting from
opioids and with this representing a true nationwide problem, it past time for
a federal task force to be formed to investigate this problem, and develop
potential solutions. National resources must be delegated to the states as they
fight a deadly epidemic in which increasing number of opioid addicts are
turning to heroin to get their fix. While this is a public health issue, it is
also a national economic security one. Because opioid addiction imposes
healthcare and criminal justice costs as well as significant lost productivity
in the workplace, it costs the nation upwards of $25 billion per year.

              Given these
realities, the Task Force put into place to determine how federal resources can
successfully be allocated in relation to the opioid epidemic must be a
multi-disciplinary one. Because the opioid epidemic is simultaneously an issue
of health, law enforcement and economics, it is absolutely crucial that the
Task Force adopt a holistic approach to examining the root causes of the
epidemic, and potential solutions, so that experts in relevant issue-areas can
be brought to bear in relation to these interlocking challenges. Moreover, and
because some areas of the country have been hit harder than others by the
epidemic, notably the “Rustbelt,” it is also crucial that local area experts be
brought onboard, and given prominent roles in terms of demonstrating specifically
which resources their communities would benefit from.

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              This task
force is specifically necessary because the nation has yet to offer federal
resources to mitigating the epidemic or examining it through the holistic lens
that it requires. Unlike many recreational or street drug patterns, opioid
addiction emerges from all walks of life. Many of those who have become
addicted to opioids are in fact innocent victims who simply were not made aware
of the addictive potential of these drugs when they began taking them. With the
pharmaceutical companies having not disclosed the addictive potential of the
new generation of painkillers made up of substances like Vicodin and Oxycontin,
it is critical that this Task Force be premised on the notion that not all
those currently abusing opioids, or even heroin, are failures or burdens upon
our society.

with the mission of providing aid to the communities that have been so affected
by the opioid epidemic, this Task Force must also play an important role in
relation to developing a pathway by which the large pharmaceutical companies
that created these drugs be made accountable for these effects. Whether this is
ultimately undertaken through a legal framework or a legitimate partnership,
the holistic expertise of this Task Force will be best suited to determining
how the pharmaceutical industry can and must be integrated into this fight
against opioids. Ultimately, the Task Force must also determine what resources
the federal government must deploy so as to fight the opioid epidemic, and how
the scarce resources are to best be distributed.