Statistics tell us that drug addiction is running rampant in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdoses from prescription painkillers increased four-fold from 1999 to 2011. Heroin overdoses more than doubled. In fact, there are more deaths from drug abuse than from car accidents, according to the CDC. And smaller towns have been particularly hard hit by the epidemic.
While statistics are good at telling the story, so are those on whom drugs and alcohol have had a direct impact. On her New Hampshire campaign trip, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heard from a retired doctor, who stepped up to express his concern about the rising tide of drug abuse in his own community. Clinton responded that she also was concerned, noting that she had heard the same worry voiced in other states throughout her campaign tour. She also vowed to address the issue.
Legislators Address a Public Outcry for Expanded Addiction Treatment
Madam Secretary walked her talk when she promptly directed her campaign staff to get more information from experts on addiction and professionals in the recovery community. The research has shaped her recently unveiled, $10 billion proposal to address drug and alcohol addiction, which sets five goals that emphasize prevention, addiction treatment and recovery; encourages earlier education for young people; and increases investments in rehab centers. The proposal also addresses the issue of mass incarceration, seeking to end prison time for minor drug offenses and setting a priority for treatment over sentencing for non-violent drug offenses.
Clinton is not alone in her concern, and drug addiction is not a partisan issue. A bill introduced in January by Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse would bolster prevention and treatment programs and expand the use of naloxone, which is an anti-overdose medication. With a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center showing that nearly 70 percent of Americans want to address the issue of drug addiction through legislation, legislators are responding to a public outcry for help.Share your thoughts below or follow us on Facebook! If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call us at (877) 959-5909.