The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been in a public relations tailspin over opioid overdose deaths.
The agency announced this week that it will no longer refer people for treatment for opioid overdoses and that it has been working with a coalition of groups to develop a new strategy.
But that strategy is not nearly as straightforward as the one the agency developed in 2016.
While the agency said it was looking at ways to reduce overdose deaths and the spread of the disease, the proposal also proposed creating a new task force that would include representatives from law enforcement and other stakeholders.
“The focus is on how to prevent more deaths, and it’s not going to be an effort to do everything right at once,” said Paul Caligiuri, a senior policy analyst with the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that has advocated for a national opioid strategy.
“I don’t think the Department of Justice has any interest in that kind of approach.”
The proposed strategy was described in an advisory that the agency released on Friday.
But it was met with criticism from lawmakers who want the task force to focus on improving treatment options for people in recovery.
“We can’t just be trying to get people out of the system, and I think that’s a very shortsighted approach,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who was one of several senators who wrote to the president in April asking for the taskforce to address opioid overdose prevention.
The proposal also calls for funding for more research into the causes and treatments of opioid use.
“This is not about one or two deaths, it’s about tens of thousands of people who are struggling and it needs to be addressed,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R.
Okla.), who is also a member of the task-force.
“These are our children, they’re our neighbors, they have families, and we have to be concerned about the impact on them.”
One key question about the proposal is how to address the issue of chronic opioid abuse.
“What do we do about the people who aren’t dying, but are living with chronic pain and they have a drug problem that is increasing their risk of dying?” said Sen-Elect Tim Scott (R., S.C.).
“What are we going to do about people who’ve had an overdose, but they’re not dying?”
The proposed solution is to create a task force “that is able to work collaboratively with all stakeholders,” the draft document states.
The draft plan also suggests that the Department for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PETA), which has been leading the charge against the opioid epidemic, should lead the task forces.
“PETA has worked with the U,S.
Centers for Diseases Control and Protection (CDC) and other federal agencies to provide important information about the public health risks posed by opioids, and PETA is committed to partnering with the DEA, the CDC, and other relevant authorities to improve prevention and control of opioid addiction,” the document states, without specifying PETA’s role.
The task force would have to come up with a plan to identify ways to prevent the spread and increase the use of alternative pain treatments and to make recommendations for how to treat opioid addiction, according to the draft.
And the draft also proposes creating a taskforce with representatives from the private sector, local governments, the federal government, and drug companies.
The Trump administration has faced criticism over its opioid plan.
In April, the White House announced it would reduce opioid prescriptions by 30 percent by the end of 2021.
The plan would include an increase in the supply of generic painkillers, but the administration also said it would not make the drugs more expensive.
A new study released this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics said the federal health department has made a “significant commitment” to reducing opioid prescriptions, but it also said the opioid plan would not stop the opioid abuse epidemic.
“Although the administration’s opioid plan appears to be a significant step forward, it does not address the root causes of opioid abuse and its effect on health and well-being,” the study states.