Addiction in America
On Wednesday, June 21 at The Washington Post, policymakers, researchers and health care experts examined the roots of the country’s opioid crisis and discussed solutions for combating addiction in America.
They discussed the role of doctors in managing patients’ pain and helping to fight the epidemic and described what’s being done to reduce the abuse of opioids as recreational drugs and addressed questions like: How might Congress and the Trump Administration take action? Will new recommendations for prescription drug practices be adopted and will they be effective? What measures might be used to prevent addiction and what new treatments could curb addiction rates?
Program Recap
Former congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, who has struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism, says the country is in “deep, deep denial” about the opioid crisis. “If this were an infectious disease, we’d be throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at it right now,” Kennedy told The Washington Post in a live interview on Tuesday.
  • Jun 21
Addiction Crisis: A Nation Responds
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) discuss how the U.S. government and Congress are responding to the opioid epidemic. They debate what proposals are on the table and talk about the prospects for bipartisan action on Capitol Hill and in the states.
  • Jun 21
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), describes the opioid crisis in his state of Massachusetts where the number of opioid-related deaths last year was three-times the national average.
  • Jun 21
Greg Walden Walden (R-Ore.), discusses the new GOP health-care bill and what it may do for affordable insurance and addiction treatment.
  • Jun 21
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.)
U.S. Representative, Colorado; Chief Deputy Whip
Rep. Diana DeGette is serving her eleventh term in Congress and is Chief Deputy Whip of the Democratic Caucus. She is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, serving as the Vice Chair from 2007 to 2010 and as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations since 2011.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
Senator Edward Markey is the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts since 2013. Markey is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Prior to his time in the Senate, Markey was a member of the House for 37 years where he authored the 2007 fuel economy law, the appliance efficiency act of 1987 and the law that established the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. In 2009 as Congressman, Markey was the co-author of comprehensive climate legislation, the Waxman-Markey bill.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.)
U.S. Representative, Oregon; Chairman of the House Energy And Commerce Committee
Rep. Greg Walden serves as Representative of Oregon’s Second Congressional District. He is currently the Chairman of the House Energy And Commerce Committee and has also served on the House Committees on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Oversight and Government Reform.
Moderated by Mike DeBonis
Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.
An Epidemic in America: Cause and Effect
Dr. Leana Wen, Health Commissioner of Baltimore City and Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Co-Director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University, discuss how doctors and prescription providers are looking at new approaches to prevent, treat, and break patterns of addiction in communities across the country.
  • Jun 21
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Co-Director of Opioid Policy Research at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University discusses strategies for controlling America’s addiction problem at the state and federal level, including  better public health surveillance.
  • Jun 21
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Co-Director of Opioid Policy Research at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University says that the crisis of opioid addiction was originally “misframed” as a problem that only affected drug abusers. He calls it an "addiction epidemic" and notes that for the vast majority of people, opioids are not safe and effective treatments dealing with chronic pain.
  • Jun 21
Dr. Leana Wen, Health Commissioner of Baltimore City, argues that there is a stigma surrounding opioid addiction, unlike other types of diseases and sickness. Wen says that only one in ten people get the help they need when it comes to opioid addiction.
  • Jun 21
Dr. Leana Wen
Commissioner of Health, Baltimore City, Maryland
Dr. Leana Wen is the Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore. Wen is an emergency physician and patient and community advocate. She leads the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), and in March 2016, Wen was invited by the White House to speak on a panel with President Obama about Baltimore’s efforts to address addiction as a public health crisis.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny
Co-Director of Opioid Policy Research, Brandeis University
Dr. Andrew Kolodny is the co-director of opioid policy research at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Dr. Kolodny is also the executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He previously served as Chief Medical Officer for Phoenix House, a national nonprofit addiction treatment agency and was also Chair of Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City.
Moderated by Lenny Bernstein
Lenny Bernstein covers health and medicine for The Washington Post. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
Preventing Abuse: Seizing the Opportunity
Anne Pritchett, Vice President of Research and Policy at PhRMA, discusses the challenges of addressing prescription drug abuse, including the development of abuse-deterrent formulations of opioid medications, non-opioid pain relief alternatives, and drugs that reverse the effects of overdoses.
  • Jun 21
Anne Pritchett
Vice President, Research & Policy, PhRMA
Anne Pritchett is Vice President, Policy and Research, at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Her primary focus is overseeing the development of legislative and policy analysis and research studies on issues impacting biopharmaceutical companies including intellectual property issues, FDA policy issues, and other issues impacting the environment for innovation. Prior to joining PhRMA, she served in the White House Drug Policy Office.
Moderated by Lenny Bernstein
Lenny Bernstein covers health and medicine for The Washington Post. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
Coming Clean: Solutions for Combating Addiction
Former congressman Patrick J. Kennedy left behind a career in politics to focus on tackling addiction and mental health issues. Kennedy shares his personal journey to sobriety and his latest efforts to combat the opioid crisis in America.
  • Jun 21
Former congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, who has personal experience with overcoming addiction, argues that the suicide rate in America is under reported. “We have no clue what the true suicide rate, overdose rate” is in America, Kennedy says.
  • Jun 21
Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, a member of the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, discusses what he thinks the White House should do to help prevent addiction, including reduce suicide and overdose rates by the same percentage President Trump has proposed to reduce corporate taxes.
  • Jun 21
Patrick J. Kennedy
Member, White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis
Patrick J. Kennedy is a former Democratic congressman from Rhode Island where he was the lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Since he left Congress he founded two nonprofit organizations that help the lives of people with mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases. Kennedy is the author of “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction.”
Moderated by Mary Jordan
Mary Jordan is a Pulitzer-Prize winning, national correspondent for The Washington Post.
Battelle Sponsored Segment
Joe Berger, Vice President and General Manager of Health and Consumer Solutions at Battelle and Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, discuss medication assisted treatment. They look into various strategies aimed at reducing the number of people developing addiction problems and how to treat those who become addicted.
  • Jun 21
Dr. Wilson Compton
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Dr. Wilson Compton is Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health. NIDA supports research on the health aspects of drug abuse, addiction and other health conditions.
Interviewed by Joe Berger
Battelle
Joe Berger is the Vice President and General Manager of Health & Consumer Solutions at Battelle. Previously, he was a Business Line Manager for the Consumer, Industrial and Medical Technologies business within Health & Consumer Solutions.
About Washington Post Live
Washington Post Live is the newsroom’s live journalism platform. Top-level government and business leaders, emerging voices and newsmakers discuss the most pressing national and global issues of the day.
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