Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:
As you know, prescription drug abuse is a growing public health crisis. Approximately 6.1 million Americans abuse or misuse prescription drugs, and more than 60 Americans die every day from a prescription drug overdose. Overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers have quadrupled since 1999 and now outnumber deaths from all illicit drugs, including heroin and cocaine, combined. We appreciate the work the Committee has done to address this epidemic.
As a diverse group of stakeholders interested in the manufacture, distribution and appropriate use of opioid medications, we are working toward a comprehensive and balanced policy strategy to reduce abuse and promote treatment options. The FY15 appropriations process presents a number of opportunities to build on work already underway. We urge you to include the below measures in the final FY15 appropriations agreement.