By Nora Volkow (Director, NIDA) and Francis Collins (Director, NIH)
In 2015, two million people had a prescription opioid use disorder and 591,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder; prescription drug misuse alone cost the nation $78.5 billion in healthcare, law enforcement, and lost productivity. But while the scope of the crisis is staggering, it is not hopeless. We understand opioid addiction better than many other drug use disorders; there are effective strategies that can be implemented right now to save lives and to prevent and treat opioid addiction. At the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, GA last month, lawmakers and representatives from healthcare, law enforcement, and many private stakeholders from across the nation affirmed a strong commitment to end the crisis. Research will be a critical component of achieving this goal.