I heard today that President Trump has referred to this as a state of emergency. Which is good. It's a huge issue and people are dropping like flies. But I'm concerned because the steps I've heard about that states and agencies are taking are not enough to solve the issue. The way I see it, this is a multi-level problem and needs to be addressed on all those levels. So - 1. There are doctors who over-prescribe opioids. This is common knowledge and it's a big problem. One of the solutions talked about has to do with educating doctors. Which is good. Here's a true story. I once went to an Urgent Care facility because I'd fallen from a horse (natch) and had a huge bruise on my outer thigh that had swelled up and felt like a big bag of water. It was gross. It jiggled. I went in to see if they could drain it. The doctor who saw me examined it and told me it was not infected and asked if it was causing me pain. I said no, it was just annoying. She said it couldn't be drained and she prescribed me antibiotics and Vicodin. After telling me it wasn't infected and after I told her I wasn't in pain. This is a problem. The automatic dispensation of medications that are not suitable for the issue. In addition, a lot of patients specifically ask for narcotic pain relief and doctors just give it. Doctors need to learn to say no. 2. BUT there are a lot of people who actually need major pain relief. One of the big causes of the opioid epidemic is that people actually have pain, are prescribed these highly potent and addictive painkillers and become addicted. One of the solutions to the epidemic has been to limit the number of pills that can be dispensed over a given period. That's fine, except it doesn't address either the pain or the addiction. So people look for other ways to relieve one or both and turn to drugs like heroin, which is now being laced with Fentanyl. Much of this could be avoided if other ways of managing pain was covered by insurance. Too often they are not, and too often doctors don't even consider them. For instance, my insurance that I had through my former job only covered a small fraction of physical therapy costs, and only for PT that was prescribed for surgical aftercare. It did not cover PT for routine pain management. Many if not most insurance plans don't cover massage, chiropractic, acupuncture or other forms of alternative pain management. But they cover drugs. That needs to change. If I hadn't discovered that Chinese herbal medicine reduces my pain level to almost nothing, I would probably be addicted to Norco. I was taking 5-6 a day. For years. I was terrified I was developing a habit; not only that, it didn't work anymore because I'd built up a tolerance. I'm lucky - I pay about $60 every 3 or 4 months for herbals and I live close enough to San Francisco to have access. Lots of people don't. (I haven't taken a narcotic pain pill in at least 6 months and I now take maybe a half a one every once in a blue moon) 3. Insurance needs to pay for addiction treatment. It's ridiculous that insurance will pay for the drugs that one gets addicted to but won't pay for treatment. That needs to change too. It is frankly easier to scrape up the money to get today's fix than it is to scrape up the amount you need to enter a decent rehab. There's been some effort to address this but not enough. Kicking any kind of opiate is brutal and can be very dangerous to do cold turkey (not to mention nearly impossible). It's a medical emergency and should be covered. I don't know if anyone else has really paid a lot of attention to this but as someone who suffers from a chronic pain disorder, and who used to take a lot of opioids, and as someone who works with people affected by drug addiction on a regular basis, it's a big deal to me. I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts.