The U.S. presidential election might be a little more than a year away, but the race for candidacy is ramping up already. As the Republican and Democratic hopefuls begin to take their stands on hot-button topics like immigration, foreign policy and the economy, another topic is emerging as an important campaign issue for candidates: our country’s heroin epidemic.
Heroin to be a primary focus
New Hampshire will host the first of several primaries next spring, and as the state with the highest per capita addiction rate in the country. And its residents are almost certainly expecting heroin to be a talking point. At the forefront of the discussions is a rare bipartisan message from many of the candidates. Most agree that nonviolent drug offenders should be offered treatment interventions instead of jail time.
Republican candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has said that the focus needs to be on recovery. Democrat Hillary Clinton has hosted substance abuse forums. And Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said that treatment over jail emphasizes that “every life has value and no life is disposable.”
A nationwide problem
Although areas in the northeast and midwest have been hit particularly hard with the addiction crisis, the problem is truly a national one, reaching coast to coast. Programs have been initiated in cities like Gloucester, Massachusetts and Seattle, Washington that funnel drug addicts into treatment without arrest.
And with money already earmarked to help manage the problem at the street level. The addiction epidemic is sure to garner attention from candidates who want to offer solutions – and gain votes. On August 17, some $2.5 million was set aside by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for 15 states in the northeast that have been particularly hard hit by addiction and heroin. The money is slated to cover the costs of educating law enforcement about addiction treatment.
A Santa Fe, heroin addiction
New Mexico district attorney recently testified to Congress about a program that’s been running in her state for about a year. She said the program there is about the state “recognizing that a person with an opiate addiction is a person. And not just another statistic, not another criminal defendant for me to prosecute, but someone whose life does matter.” It’s an encouraging example of a potential change in attitude toward addicts. And it’s a change that’s been needed for a long time.
How the 2016 presidential candidates will propose to fix the heroin addiction epidemic remains to be seen. But with the northeast setting aside funds to address the issue. And states like New Mexico already implementing programs to keep addicts out of jail and in treatment. And there will hopefully be a shift toward positive change.
Getting help for addiction
While the presidential race might bring the issue of addiction into sharp focus. You don’t have to wait for a national election to get help.
In conclusion, if you’re facing an addiction to heroin, pain killers, alcohol or other substance. Or if you’re looking for help for a loved one who is, you’re not alone. The Watershed is here 24/7. Call us any time: 1-800-861-1768.Tags: 2016 presidency, heroin epidemic, obamacare heroin