The federal government declared the opioid crisis a national emergency, which will make more resources available for states and federal agencies to combat what is being called the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history.
But what does this mean? How did things get bad enough to warrant the same treatment as a natural disaster or terrorist attack?
We talked to professors from varying disciplines and specialties at the university to shed some light on what makes the opioid crisis a national emergency. All are affiliated with the university’s Youth Substance Misuse and Addiction Pop-Up Institute. Their range of backgrounds reflects how complicated the issue is.
“There is no ‘silver bullet’ to solve this problem; a comprehensive, integrated solution is required,” said Lori Holleran Steiker, the organizer of the pop-up institute. “Researchers have thus far invariably worked in silos, attacking only a narrow piece of the problem and often competing with each other for resources.”
Holleran Steiker, a professor in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, researches models for youth substance misuse prevention, intervention and recovery. She said a major reason for launching the pop-up institute was to bring together those who study and those who implement research-based practices from a wide variety of fields.