Pubdate: Thu, 31 Mar 2016
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2016 The New York Times Company
Author: Don Mathis


To the Editor:

Re "Heroin Yields Ground to Fentanyl, Its More Potent Killer Cousin" 
(front page, March 26):

The influx of fentanyl as an additive to heroin and as a 
free-standing active killer is a scary reminder that the drug 
epidemic must be addressed from the demand side as well as the 
supply. Supply-side strategies that rely on law enforcement, opioid 
prescription restrictions and international cooperation are necessary 
but not sufficient to reduce and reverse our national scourge of 
substance use disorder.

The demand-side focus relies on prevention and public education and 
awareness. We need adequately funded media campaigns that target 
those who are most vulnerable to addiction, including middle-school 
students and teenagers, returning military veterans, people who have 
exhausted their medical prescriptions and other high-risk populations.

Two coming events offer opportunities to launch such campaigns. From 
April 19 to 21, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session 
on the world drug problem will convene in New York to consider 
multiple options to address addiction and treatment. Later this year, 
the United States surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, will release the 
first-ever Surgeon General's Report on Substance Use, Addiction and Health.

These two events will provide high-visibility platforms that could 
save the lives and futures of millions of people here and abroad.


Havre de Grace, Md.

The writer is a board member of Doctors for America.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom