The Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, spoke at the annual National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit on April 4, advocating for updated prescribing practices and increased cognizance of illicit drug sales on social media platforms in order to combat the addiction crisis that grips the country.
The National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, which is held in Atlanta, Georgia, declares itself to be the largest annual conference which addresses the opioid crisis. This year, it took place from April 2nd to 5th.
The summit prides itself on its notable speakers, having hosted President Barack Obama in 2016, as well as former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price during 2017’s conference.
This year featured a slew of high-profile speakers, including President Bill Clinton and Kellyanne Conway, the Trump Administration’s “point person” for the White House’s strategy for the opioid crisis.
During his speech at the conference, Gottlieb described the strategies the FDA is currently pursuing in order to stymie the spread of the opioid crisis. While conceding that some people may migrate from a legitimately prescribed opioid medication to heroin obtained illegally on the street, Gottlieb emphasized that the number of prescriptions being written for opioids in the United States was still too high.
Gottlieb explained that over prescription can lead to a number of conditions that exacerbate the state of the opioid crisis, including excess medications left in medicine cabinets (leading to the opportunity for abuse) and contributing to addiction in communities across the country.
Gottlieb also emphasized his commitment to taking on illegal sales of opioids conducted over social media. Gottlieb announced that the FDA planned to host a summit meeting to gather internet companies together to discuss how to better combat the sale of illegal opioids over social media sites.