The Aug. 8 news article “They’d battled addiction together. Then lockdowns became a ‘recipe for death.’ ” highlighted a critical issue: As the pandemic raged, the opioid addiction crisis in the United States deteriorated. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show drug overdose deaths increased by 30 percent from 2019 to 2020. Seventy thousand Americans died from an opioid-related overdose in 2020 — the most on record.
Community heroes such as Rachel Lambert do incredible work fighting the opioid-use disorder epidemic. To stem the tide of this crisis nationwide, leaders such as Ms. Lambert need resources right now, and an upstream effort to prevent Americans from needing their services in the first place. Lawmakers in Congress are championing legislation that could prevent addiction for millions of Americans. The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act would increase access to and utilization of non-opioid pain management options by removing disincentives that make these options inaccessible for Americans.
The article underscored the urgency of the NOPAIN Act. Ms. Lambert’s addiction began after she was prescribed opioids following a sports injury. Her story is far from unique. I urge Congress to advance this legislation. Lives hang in the balance.
Chris Fox, Washington
The writer is executive director
of Voices for Non-Opioid Choices.