Opioid Crisis Comment Letter

November 8, 2017 by Todd Christman

On Nov. 1 the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released its final report with recommendations to the President and Congress on actions to address the opioid epidemic. The Commission’s final report reflects NATA’s Aug. 31 comments on the Commission’s Interim Report and further expands upon it by incorporating recommendations from other stakeholder and expert witness testimony.

NATA was also pleased to see that the Chairman of the Commission, Governor Chris Christie, in his letter to the President accompanying the report, specifically mentions the increased risk and danger injured student athletes face when prescribed opioids. Also, the Commission’s final report states the following about Anti-Doping Activities and the importance of funding for the World Anti-Doping Agency:

The Office of National Drug Control Policy Anti-doping activities focus on efforts to educate athletes on the dangers of drug use, eliminate doping in amateur athletic competitions, and rely on standards established and recognized by the United States Olympic Committee. Funding for both efforts promotes an increased awareness in the United States and internationally of the health and ethical dangers of illicit drug use and doping in sport. Funding and participation in the Anti-Doping Activities/World Anti-Doping Agency is necessary to compete in international events. These activities support state-of-the-art research within the scientific and public health communities, while striving to protect athletes’ fundamental rights to participate in drug-free sports, and thus promote the health and safety of athletes at all levels.

The publication of the Commission’s final report follows closely with the President’s announcement on Oct. 26 declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency under federal law. Though the declaration does not provide emergency funding for actions to combat the opioid crisis, the Commission recommends Congress make appropriations to the Public Health Emergency Fund to implement recommendations included in the final report.

NATA will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to protect athletes and prevent substance use addictions stemming from injuries and prescribed opioids.