Danielle Elkins: Trump offers hope in battling opioid epidemic in US
Drug addiction — it’s the other war that America has been fighting for decades, and it’s one of the major issues that Donald Trump will face during his time in The White House.
It’s so easy to group drug addicts into one category and judge them for their poor decisions to consume such potentially dangerous substances for recreational purposes, but those of us who have been close to someone struggling with this demon know that no two drug addicts are the same.
Witnessing the devastating effects of drug addiction has broken my heart many times. My hometown in Virginia has been plagued by drug addiction on a massive scale for as long as I can remember, and it is my understanding that Craig faces the same problem.
The National Safety Council reports that every year in America, about 47,000 die from a drug overdose.
The same report says that most of those yearly overdoes deaths are caused by prescription pain medications, many of which are obtained legally. It isn’t always the case that an addict becomes an addict by knowingly engaging in self-destructive behavior – some become addicts by taking medication prescribed to them by a physician.
What’s worse is that many who want help can’t afford to pay for treatment.
It appears that, as president, Trump will work to minimize access to drugs and bring more assistance to those who want to end their addictions.
An Oct. 2016 article for Stat News by Damian Garde titled “Trump is ‘doubling down’ on the opioid crisis with promises of expanded treatment” discussed the president-elect’s plans to combat the drug addiction epidemic that has taken America by storm, also noting that the problem is especially severe in rural communities.
Trump’s comments on the issue have suggested a focus on building a wall along the Mexican border, which he says will help to stop the flow of heroin into the United States.
Aside from building a wall, however, Trump has also outlined other plans to combat the epidemic, as heroin obviously isn’t the only drug destroying lives.
The soon-to-be president has called for the Food and Drug Administration to accelerate the approval of abuse-deterrent painkillers, demanded that the Drug Enforcement Administration restrict the amount of prescription opioids that can be manufactured in the US and proposed that he will change the number of patients doctors are allowed to treat for opioid addiction, said Garde.
Additionally, Garde said that Trump has promised to encourage in-patient treatment for people struggling with addiction by incentivizing state and local governments to mandate treatment.
The National Coalition for Effective Drug Policies has released a list titled “Eight Steps to Effectively Controlling Drug Abuse And the Drug Market.” Number two on that list is “Make treatment available on request like any other health service.”
The promises Trump has made so far comply with this recommendation, along with several other items on the list.
It’s reassuring to see that our soon-to-be president has an understanding of what steps are necessary to combat this epidemic that has been claiming lives for far too long.
While I know that the government can’t solve every single problem of drug addiction, it is my hope that we’ll soon see policy changes that will help America to stop widespread drug addiction in its tracks, help to restore the lives of those who have been battling it and find ways to prevent our youth from choosing that path.
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