A news report this weekend focused on the presidential candidates’ respective stances on how to deal with the opiate epidemic plaguing America. The extent of the problem in a snapshot: every 19 minutes there is a death attributable to opiate use. 28,000 Americans died from opiate overdose in 2014. In New Hampshire, a presidential battleground state ravaged by heroin, there have been 160 opioid overdoses already this year. And in West Virginia, there were two dozen overdoses last Monday over a four hour period in one town alone!
Clinton’s plan–to spend $10 billion over a 10 year period on prevention, treatment and recovery, prescriber and first responder education and criminal justice reform. Trump argues that the wall will prevent the flow of heroin into the country.
Wherever you stand on the viability of either candidate’s position, it is certainly heartening that the problem is being discussed, and often, on a national level. The situation is arguably worse than it was even during the height of the pill mill crisis. The reduction in availability of prescription opiate pain medication opened the door to heroin…and fentanyl.