Author: Shernide Delva
Clinton’s plan is focuses on five main goals:
- Prevent drug use among teenagers by empowering communities.
- Ensure comprehensive treatment options are accessible to every person suffering from addiction.
- Require all responders to carry naloxone: a drug used to stop overdoses from becoming fatal.
- Require health care providers to receive training in recognizing substance use disorders and to consult a prescription drug monitoring program before prescribing controlled substances.
- Prioritize treatment to drug offenders rather criminalize so there can be an end to mass incarcerations
Clinton has given the issue of mental health and addiction a priority in her campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Last month in New Hampshire, she participated in a round-table discussion with elected officials to discuss substance abuse, specifically opiate addiction. She explained it was time that this crisis was fully addressed:
“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. It’s time we recognize that our state and federal prisons…are no substitute for proper treatment and reform our criminal justice system”
Clinton plan is advocating for close coordination between prisons and the public health system. Her goal is to provide better care for inmates who suffer from issues of substance abuse.
She plans to set aside 7.5 billion dollars of the proposed funds to “support states that design and commit to comprehensive plans” to meet her goals. Each eligible state will receive four dollars for every dollar they contribute to substance abuse treatment plans and programs. She explained on her campaign the importance of states working together to tackle the epidemic:
“My plan starts by partnering with states and communities across America to meet these goals and substantially expand access to treatment. We’ll ask states to design ambitious plans using the programs that make most sense for their communities’ needs”
At the federal level, Hillary Clinton proposed a 15% expansion of the current Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. The 15% expansion would occur over the course of 10 years and would increase inpatient and outpatient options.
Clinton would also call for a federal reevaluation of payment, insurance and reimbursement practices for care. She would direct the U.S Attorney General to provide guidance to states to put rehabilitation ahead of jail time for low-level drug offenders.
According to the plan, the money that the criminal justice system would save through reducing the level of incarcerations would fund partially Clinton’s initiative. On the campaign website, Clinton ends by saying she hopes these steps can get the country on a path to helping those suffering from addiction.
“There are 23 million Americans suffering from addiction. 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.”
The quiet epidemic is finally getting heard. Hopefully, the topic of addiction and substance abuse will become a topic of debate in all the presidential campaigns in the next coming months.
Addiction is a complex issue with a range of treatment options. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.