‘Grace period is over’ for tackling opioid overdoses, NSC’s Hersman says

The National Safety Council is calling for action on preventing opioid painkiller overdoses following the release of new federal data showing that opioid overdoses increased to an all-time high in 2014.

In response to the data, published by the National Center for Health Statistics, the council is recommending:

  • Implementation of prescribing guidelines for physicians who are treating patients with chronic pain
  • Drug Enforcement Administration-required education and additional training for medical practitioners who prescribe opioids
  • Legislation that makes naloxone – an overdose antidote – widely available
  • Accessible and affordable treatment

“Prescription opioids have been a flashing red light for years, but as a society we have not heeded the data warning us of the deadly cost of addiction,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC, said in a press release. “Our grace period is over. If we do not act quickly and deliberately, we will lose more people to preventable overdoses. Nothing is more tragic than that.”

Visit nsc.org/rxpainkillers for more information.