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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

White House Announces New Members to Opioid Commission

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The White House has named four new members to President Trump’s commission on fighting opioid addiction. The commission, led by Jared Kushner and Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), was created back in March to tackle and combat the nation’s ongoing opioid addiction and overdose crisis. The new members include two governors, a former congressman in recovery and an addiction researcher.

The new members include:

  • Charlie Baker, Republican Governor of Massachusetts
  • Roy Cooper, Democratic Governor of North Carolina
  • Patrick J Kennedy, former Congressman, and staunch mental health and addictions advocate
  • Bertha Madras, addictions researcher and former Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

These new members join the heads of four key agencies: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Defense Secretary James Mattis and as many as five other members who aren’t federal employees on this task force.

The Commission’s participating members are instructed to:

  • Identify and describe existing Federal funding used to combat drug addiction and the opioid crisis;
  • Assess the availability and accessibility of drug addiction treatment services and overdose reversal throughout the country and identify areas that are underserved;
  • Identify and report on best practices for addiction prevention, including health care provider education and evaluation of prescription practices, and the use and effectiveness of State prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs);
  • Review the literature evaluating the effectiveness of educational messages for youth and adults with respect to prescription and illicit opioids; and
  • Identify and evaluate existing Federal programs to prevent and treat drug addiction for their scope and effectiveness, and make recommendations for improving these programs.

The commission is charged with making interim recommendations on improving the federal response to opioid addiction and will produce a final report come October. After the final report, executive agencies are expected to take administrative and regulatory action to implement the commission’s recommendations.