June 02, 2017
In an Observer op-ed this week, American Health Policy Institute CEO Tevi Troy compares President Trump's new commission to address the opioid epidemic to how former presidents have dealt with public health crises, noting the importance of the President's commitment to its success, as well as a sustained governmental response. Last month, the Trump administration announced a bipartisan commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), to address the opioid crisis, which killed over 30,000 Americans in 2015. In crafting its recommendations, Dr. Troy suggests that the commission look to lessons from previous administrations. During the 20th century, three presidents faced major public health crises: Franklin Roosevelt and polio, John F. Kennedy and smoking, and Ronald Reagan and HIV/AIDS. "It is important to recognize that expectations placed upon government have increased," Dr. Troy writes. "Another lesson is how public health issues have become politicized over time." A workable approach to a public health crisis such as opioids calls for an appropriate level of presidential rhetoric and action in the form of government resources and activity. We have learned that a president's personal commitment to an issue is important in that it ensures that the issue will be prioritized throughout the bureaucracy. Dr. Troy argues that although presidential leadership is important, governmental response should be set up to continue beyond one administration so it is sustained over the long term. AHPI Governors will discuss how to address the impact of the opioid epidemic on the workforce at the upcoming AHPI Board of Governors meeting on June 8 in Washington, D.C.