NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Governor of Louisiana will be among a select few meeting with President Donald Trump today to address the opioid crisis in the country.
Cities and states across the country are fighting against the epidemic, and now President Trump wants to address the issue on a national level.
Gov. John Bel Edwards along with Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, were invited to a listening session at the White House Thursday by the request of the president.
Also participating in the event are Governors Bill Walker (I-Alaska), Chris Christie (R-N.J.), Chris Sununu (R-N.H.), Matt Bevin (Ky.), and Paul LePage (R-Maine).
The governors will be joined by three Attorneys General and eight state public health directors.
"The opioid epidemic is sweeping the country, and opioid-related deaths in Louisiana are on the rise," said Gov. Edwards. "We're doing our part in Louisiana, and I appreciate President Trump highlighting this important issue. Dr. Gee and I are looking forward to discussing Louisiana's efforts to combat this crisis and to learn best practices from other states."
In the 2017 Regular Legislative Session, Gov. Edwards signed a bill into law by Representatives Heleno Moreno and Kirk Talbot that limits first-time prescriptions of opioids for acute pain to a seven day supply, with exceptions when medically appropriate.
Last month, Louisiana joined dozens of other cities, counties and states in filing a lawsuit in response to the alarming number of cases of opioid addition and opioid-related deaths throughout the country. Lawsuits were also filed by local sheriff's offices in Avoyelles, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis and Rapides Parishes.
About the crisis:
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Louisiana Dept. of Health (LDH) show that the abuse of opioids in Louisiana is prevalent:
Louisiana is one of 20 states with a significant increase in opioid deaths. (CDC)
Louisiana had a 12 percent increase in deaths resulting from opioid overdose for 2014-2015. (CDC)
Louisiana had 478 (17 per 100,000) fatal drug overdoses in 2014.(LDH)
Data from 2013-2015 indicates there were 6,252 opioid-related substance abuse treatment admissions in Louisiana. (LDH)
Since the Prescription Monitoring Program began monitoring narcotic prescribing behavior, Louisiana has averaged 110 prescriptions per 100 people. Meaning, we have more prescriptions for narcotics than we have residents. (LDH)