Introduction and keynote
According to the CDC, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and more than 1,000 Americans are treated in emergency departments for improper use of prescription opioids daily. The opioid crisis has grown substantially over the last 15 years and its effects can be felt in communities across the country. Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled and preliminary data indicates that this upward trend will only continue. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.
On Friday, November 3, the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy hosted a conference on how public policy can address the opioid epidemic. The conference featured keynote remarks from:
- Sir Angus Deaton, a Nobel Prize winning economist whose work has documented the shocking rise of “deaths of despair” among white Americans without a four-year college degree
- Rep. Ann McLane Kuster from New Hampshire, ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force
- Bertha Madras, a psychobiology professor at Harvard Medical School and member of the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, who will discuss the recommendations from the commission report set to be released earlier that week, along with her own work
Following their remarks, Deaton and Madras joined a panel of experts in opioid policy to discuss ways to address this national crisis.