Established in 1988, World AIDS Day allows the people of the world to show support for people living with and affected by HIV, and to commemorate people who have lost their lives to AIDS. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an urgent reminder that pandemics can devastate communities, lives, and livelihoods. The theme for World AIDS Day 2020 is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact.”
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The opioids crisis is affecting communities across the nation. The disease of opioid use disorder does not discriminate. As the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, I believe strongly that we must do all we can to stem the tide of this crisis; however, I believe we must take measured, well-thought-out and responsible steps to do this.
The temptation to develop seemingly quick solutions is understandable but I urge the nation to proceed instead with caution.
Earlier this month there was news that over 90 people overdosed on synthetic marijuana laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl at a park in New Haven, Conn. Thankfully, no one died of an overdose that day due to the quick response from emergency personnel. Such stories remind us that people across the country are struggling with addiction to illicit substances and opioid-based pain medications.