A letter from the FED UP! Coalition Chair:
Dear Friends of the FED UP! Coalition,
Serving as Chair of the FED UP!
FED UP! began its advocacy work at a time when few Americans knew what an “opioid” was. But, as overdose deaths attributed to the overprescribing of opioids increased, awareness of the crisis grew. FED UP!’s rallies and other efforts led to successes, including an invitation to the White House for President Obama’s 2016 signing of the first Federal legislation that would provide meaningful funding to the states for opioid addiction treatment. Today we would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know that we have an opioid crisis … so our movement has definitely brought awareness. However, stronger illicit opioids like fentanyl have recently appeared, and overdose deaths are continuing to rise. Recent Federal legislation has brought some significant positive change, but change at the FDA and funding for opioid addiction treatment are both still desperately needed … and Pharma must be held accountable for the role they have played in the epidemic.
In recognition of the need for FED UP!’s important work to continue, and of my having reached a stage in life that makes it difficult for me to spend the time required to lead this effort, I have decided that I will retire from my position as Chair of FED UP!, a position I have held since the inception of the Coalition. This was not an easy decision, and I plan to remain involved at a level that works for both me and for FED UP! Emily Walden has been voted in as the new Chair of FED UP! effective January 1, 2019. She is the right person at the right time for this job! Her passion and knowledge will bring new awareness and energy to address the issues and lead FED UP!. I hope that you will support Emily’s efforts and offer to help her in any way you can.
It is difficult to know where to begin with my thank-yous to the countless individuals and organizations that have helped me in my role as Chair of FED UP!. I would especially like to thank the other members of the amazing and hard-working FED UP! Executive Committee: Andrew Kolodny, April Rovero, Dan Busch, Emily Walden, Karen Carlini, and Lexi Reed Holtum. But I THANK YOU all for making my time as Chair of the FED UP! Coalition a time of special friendships and rewarding work! I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to serve in this capacity, and I know I will miss it.
Founder and Past-Chair of the FED UP! Coalition
Dr. Tu at the University of Minnesota Dental School reached an epiphany after attending a FED UP! Rally in Washington D.C. Faces of children and young adults who have died from opioid overdoses were displayed on T-shirts, posters and banners. “These are the faces of my patients” Dr. Tu told the New York Times.
The New York Times – 07/10/2017
June 30, 2017, the FED UP! Coalition sent a letter the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis. The letter informs the Commission of the need to hold the FDA accountable for its role in the opioid epidemic.
Read the full letter at FED UP! Coalition Letter to the President’s Commission
Long-time FED UP! supporter, Emily Walden, shares the loss of her son with CNN. Emily testified to the FDA about the dangers of Opana ER, the drug that took her son’s life and was recently pulled from the market.
He loved his country, and his country failed him. He should not have had access to this very dangerous and highly addictive drug. Too many mothers have gotten a knock on their door saying their child will never come home again. Too many children have had their lives cut short, families destroyed, communities left in ruins
Read the full story here: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/09/health/mother-opioid-crisis-opana-er/
CNN – 06/09/2017
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released grim statistics surrounding overdose deaths in 2015. Below is a summary of the data collected from the CDC WONDER database:
- According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids rose from 28,647 in 2014 to 33,091 in 2015.
- Heroin overdose deaths rose from 10,574 in 2014 to 12,990 in 2015, an increase of 23 percent.
- Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone rose from 5,544 in 2014 to 9,580 in 2015, an increase of 73 percent. This category of opioids is dominated by fentanyl-related overdoses, and recent research indicates the fentanyl involved in these deaths is illicitly manufactured, not from medications containing fentanyl.
- Taken together, 19,885 Americans lost their lives in 2015 to deaths involving primarily illicit opioids: heroin, synthetic opioids other than methadone (e.g., fentanyl), or a mixture of the two.
- Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, excluding the category predominated by illicit fentanyl, rose only slightly from 16,941 in 2014 to 17,536 in 2015, a 4% increase.
These troubling statistics illustrate that the problem is far from over. It’s important for us to remember, as Barbara Allen mentioned at the 2015 FED UP! Rally, everyone one of these numbers is a name and every name is a human being, not a statistic. Each person lost echoes pain and grief of a family, a friend, a colleague. Now, more than ever, we must rally supporters to demand smart legislation, raise awareness, and at the very least drive a decline in deaths resulting from this national crisis. For those that lost someone, we stand with you.