Will the New 2018 U.S. Drug Policy Pay for Addiction Treatment?
It’s March 19th and President Trump shared more details on his comprehensive 2018 drug policy plan to eliminate the opioid epidemic in our country, avowing success to hopeful crowds in New Hampshire and the national media. Supporters of stronger drug laws and those opposed to the death penalty may agree on one facet of the plan: the new 2018 drug policy could help pay for addiction treatment for those with little financial resources. As the President went in to further declarations of what he proposed going forward stating “Failure is not an option,” it begs the question “How then, will it make a difference?”
Can You Solve Addiction on a Promise?
Abstinence is not a calling card many people can claim before drug or alcohol use ever takes place but it is something that Trump touts often. Although he, himself, did not succumb to the lure of the drink or other mind-altering substances, the pain of addiction is something he holds close to the vest but shares when necessary. Because he lost his brother Freddy at age 43 to alcohol use disorder some 30 years ago, Trump’s fight in the drug crisis is emotional, personal and purposeful.
Since the beginnings of his Presidential campaign, Trump promised to stop America’s fall into the abyss of drug addiction, though we haven’t heard of anything more than a promise from the podium – until now.
With Focus on Prescription Opioid Addicts, Heroin Use Could Rise
If Congress passes the bill Trump is proposing, the gauntlet of accountability comes down hard on the medical community but perhaps at greater risk to their patients. For people currently taking prescription opioids, already tightened restrictions on administering pills will get even tighter. Opioid prescribing numbers will be reduced by 1/3 of what they are today, over a 3-year period. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice will have the right to go after criminally, negligent doctors and opioid drug makers for misinforming and ill-prescribing opioids. While this move sounds good in theory, it could push patients down the opioid rabbit hole further, towards heroin use.
Supply and Demand Works for Real Estate, Not So Much for Illicit Drugs
It’s no secret that the current administration handles decision-making regarding federal policy like a business looking to expand by cutting the fat, running lean and favoring fluid strategies to reach goals. In stating that the federal government aims to “… reduce drug demand to reduce drug addiction,” is somewhat simplistic. Drug demand does not adequately address the deep-seated layers of societal breakdown that xist and feeds the longevity of the drug problem and the risk for relapse.
Here Is an Inkling of What the 2018 U.S. Drug Policy Stands for
Putting political party preference aside, the following is an outline of what President Trump and the administration will present to Congress. However, the final policy remains to be seen.
Proposed Benefits of New Drug Policy
- Drug treatment not to be subsidized by taxpayer
- More available and affordable medication assisted treatment
- Addiction rehab facilities to use evidence-based, science-based treatments and provide compassionate care
- Easing current restrictions for treatment facilities so more are eligible for federal-subsidies
- Narcan®, an overdose reversal drug, provided to all U.S. high schools and college campuses for free*
- Reduce supply of illicit drugs by building The Wall, especially at our Southern border
- Second chance program to help inmates, after doing time, to receive treatment and job training
- Intensive advertising campaign across multiple marketing channels about the dangers of drugs
- New website: gov for people who want to share their addiction story
*Narcan provided by manufacturer Adapt Pharma, 2 boxes per school
Out of Darkness Comes the Light of the People
States across the country couldn’t wait for the federal government to come up with an action plan. In the last couple of years, many agencies have created programs that help to make a difference in their own communities, while serving as potential models to be integrated into nationwide initiatives.
In Manchester, New Hampshire, it’s fire department is a vital resource for addicts who reach that turning point when they are ready to seek help. Safe Stations allow addicts to enter any fire house and ask for assistance where they will get a medical assessment and referral to a facility for drug rehab. This program was borne out of necessity as 70 percent of emergency calls were due to overdoses.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the 2018 Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, making more people accountable for the deadly crisis including healthcare providers and practitioners, tougher punishment for drug-related crimes and calling out shady addiction treatment owners who take advantage of people who need help. Scottsdale Recovery Center created a crowdfund, allowing Arizona residents and business owners the opportunity to invest in the expansion of its facilities for a lucrative return, while providing more alcohol and drug treatment to the many who are in dire need of quality care.
Cities from coast to coast hosted public service announcements on local television networks and billboards, reminding residents that a free prescription of Naloxone was available for the taking per household, just in case someone you know needs to reverse the damage of an overdose in process.
Do What You Can - Speak Up, Reach Out
Drug addiction treatment shouldn’t be held hostage by political mudslinging and power plays of Congress. For once, perhaps, federal lawmakers will do the right thing and put the health and safety of our people before pork and big business. Just as the drug crisis affects us at the state, county and city levels – so too should our push for effective change be heard. Contact your local and state representatives. Tell them to act on your behalf.
Stop the bleeding. Start the healing.
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