Most people agree that the drug problem in our country is out of control. After years of fighting the drug war south of the border and incarcerating addicts in the United States, it is clear that an overhaul of our strategy on drug abuse has been sorely needed.
Now that local, state and federal government leaders are mostly in agreement that the focus needs to be concentrated on treatment and prevention, more people are backing these efforts. However, this new focus does require more funds and many states are looking towards the federal government to provide the financial backing for the policy changes.
A new bill that was introduced by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) to the U.S. Senate proposed that the federal government provide $80 million to states in order to fund the attack on drug abuse. The bill is titled The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014 and it would allow states to increase drug prevention, fund more treatment centers and increase anti-drug awareness. Additionally, the bill looks to institute evidence-based treatment for heroin and prescription painkiller addicts as well as increase the amount of naloxone that is being distributed to first responders. More and more police are carrying the drug that once administered, will reverse the effects of a heroin or opiate overdose. It can be an effective form of intervention as well, when used properly.
Beefing up prescription monitoring systems throughout the country is also important in fighting the drug abuse problem in our country. Some of the money would go to instituting more monitoring systems and enhancing the ones that some states already have in place. “The bill represents a significant step forward in how we understand and address addiction. The bottom line is that addiction and other mental illnesses are treatable, and recovery is real,” explained Patrick Kennedy in support of the new bill.
While the bill has not yet been passed, it does appear to be a step in the right direction in addressing the drug addiction problem in our country. It is has several co-sponsors from both parties as well as support from multiple law enforcement and addiction recovery support organizations.