Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has announced if she were the nation's leader she would change the way that the country fights addiction, focusing on treatment and intervention, rather then imprisonment.
In an op-ed essay that ran in the New Hampshire Union Leader, Clinton released her strategy, which focuses on five goals: empower communities to prevent drug use among teenagers; ensure every person suffering from addiction can obtain comprehensive treatment; ensure that all first responders carry naloxone (used to stop heroin overdoses); require health care providers to receive training in recognizing substance use disorders and to consult a prescription drug monitoring program before prescribing controlled substances; and prioritize treatment over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenders.
“It’s time we recognize that there are gaps in our health care system that allow too many to go without care — and invest in treatment,” Clinton wrote. “It’s time we recognize that our state and federal prisons, where 65 percent of inmates meet medical criteria for substance use disorders, are no substitute for proper treatment — and reform our criminal justice system.”
Clinton said that during early campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, she was struck by the number of people who wanted addiction treatment reform to be at the forefront of the 2016 campaign. She vowed to make addiction treatment a priority.
“This is not new. We’re not just now “discovering” this problem,” she wrote. “But we should be saying enough is enough. It’s time we recognize as a nation that for too long, we have had a quiet epidemic on our hands.”
Clinton’s plan calls for increasing funding for community programs, and dedicating $7.5 billion to support treatment programs designed by the states.
“There are 23 million Americans suffering from addiction,” Clinton wrote. “But no one is untouched. We all have family and friends who are affected. We can’t afford to stay on the sidelines any longer — because when families are strong, America is strong. Through improved treatment, prevention, and training, we can end this quiet epidemic once and for all.”