A number of bills designed to tackle the nation’s opioid epidemic were recently signed into law by President Donald Trump. The package of legislation received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, a rare feat in the current political climate that exists in the country.
Dubbed the Support for Families and Communities Act, the legislation was hailed as a breakthrough by lawmakers, who argue it will increase access to addiction treatment as well as numerous interventions that will lessen the ongoing opioid epidemic. Those added interventions include everything from the efforts of law enforcement against illegal drugs to taking on the over-prescription of opioids by members of the medical community.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said in a statement that the legislation is a major victory for his state. Portman, who actively worked on and lobbied for the legislation, said it would also help stem synthetic drugs like fentanyl from being shipped into the country via the Postal Service.
However, Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore’s former health commissioner and incoming president of Planned Parenthood, argued that a more comprehensive response is needed to curtail the opioid overdose crisis.
The legislation also does not provide funding for a large-scale expansion of addiction treatment options, which many experts believe is key to alleviating the crisis.
The bill does greenlight some small grant programs but does not provide funding for them. The actual money allocation will be worked out during the appropriations process.
Stanford University drug policy expert Keith Humphreys assisted both House and Senate staffers with the bill. According to Humphreys, Democrats and Republicans came together to agree on as many second-tier issues as possible in order to get the legislation through Congress and to the president’s desk for his signature.
The legislation does away with restrictions on opioid addiction medications, meaning more medical providers can prescribe them; expands an existing program so more first responders carry and use naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses; allows federal agencies to undertake pain and addiction research projects, and increases penalties for opioid over prescription.
More than 72,000 people in the United States died as a result of drug overdoses in 2017. At least two-thirds of those deaths were attributable to opioids, according to preliminary findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lorne Cross, MD is a healthcare professional from Portland, Oregon, who specializes in Addiction Medicine. It’s no secret that the United States is facing an opioid crisis. There are more lives lost to overdose deaths each year than were lost in the entire Vietnam War, and new data shows that opioids now kill more people each year than breast cancer. Understanding and treating the opioid crisis is of utmost importance to this country, and Dr. Cross has chosen to specialize in Addiction Medicine and focus all of his professional attention on this critical problem.
As the Medical Director of the Willamette Valley Treatment Center, Dr. Cross is the leader of a team that provides Medication Assisted Treatment to patients with Opioid Use Disorder. Lorne Cross, MD also serves as the Medical Director of a new Opioid Treatment Program in the Yamhill County Jail. Focusing on the treatment of opiate addiction, rather than punishment, can help to prevent relapse, decrease the rate of overdose deaths, and help to lower recidivism in the jail population, putting inmates on the right path upon release. Giving patients a path to recovery ultimately sets them up for more success in their futures.
Dr. Cross is hopeful as he looks into the future of treatment opportunities for opiate addiction. He sees the expansion of treatment into jails and prisons as a necessary step towards treating the opioid crisis and preventing unnecessary overdose deaths. Treating addiction with a rehabilitative approach is one of the best ways to reach out to those who truly need it most.
Senior Medical School Class Officer
Scholastic Honors Program Graduate
John Philip Sousa Award 1988
Years' Experience in Healthcare
Years Serving as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve
Published Research Articles
From the time he was a child, Lorne Cross, MD was always fascinated by medicine and the natural sciences. By the time he reached college he knew he wanted to attend medical school and pursue his medical degree. He graduated in the top third of his class from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and completed his medicine internship and his anesthesiology residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Loma Linda University is a coeducational health sciences university located in California. He is also a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Scholastic Honors Program at Southwestern Adventist College, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology. Southwestern Adventist College is a small college, with an undergraduate enrollment of around 800 students, located in Texas.
Outside of work, Lorne Cross, MD likes to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. He is an avid cyclist and bicycle racer, while actively pursuing many other sports. Outside of spending time exercising, he also loves to travel to new locations and spend time with his two teenage children and family.