The need for more discussion about addiction is crucial to eliminating the stigma which has long surrounded the insidious disease. Over the course of multiple decades, the solution in the United States was jail and prisons. However, we know that incarceration does little to combat the problem, due to the high rates of relapse and recidivism upon release.
With the campaign trail underway for the 2016 Presidential Election, the topic of addiction treatment in America has been a focus point among some of the candidates. In fact, candidates on both sides of the party line have spoken up about the need for treatment and recovery over incarceration, NPR reports.
With drug overdoses killing more Americans than traffic accidents, there is clearly a need to address the issue. In the early caucus and primary states, Iowa and New Hampshire, both Hillary Clinton (D) and Gov. Chris Christie (R) have spoken about addiction, according to the article. Opening up dialogue about opioid addiction could not have come a better time, last year alone, more than 300 people in New Hampshire died of drug overdoses, primarily due to heroin and prescription painkillers.
At an addiction treatment center in New Hampshire, Governor Christie opened up about a friend from law school who became addicted to opioid painkillers, the article reports. “One Sunday morning I got a phone call that they found him in a hotel room with an empty bottle of Percocet and a bottle of vodka. And he was gone,” Christie said. He argues for treatment over jail.
Clinton has been speaking about the issue at the opening of her events, and her campaign team is currently drafting a policy to address drug abuse.
“When I started thinking about this campaign, I did not believe I would be standing in your living room talking about the drug abuse problem, the mental health problem and the suicide problem,” she said at a recent Iowa event. “But I am now convinced I have to talk about it. I have to do everything I can in this campaign to raise it, to end the stigma against talking about it.”