Blue states. Red states. Left-wing. Right-wing. The November elections emphasized how diverse political stances can be in our nation. Yet, one issue has brought leaders together. Leaving party lines behind, politicians are working to battle the opioid crisis in America.
This unity is evident in the legislation signed by President Trump on October 24th. In an otherwise divided Congress, this legislation gained enough support from both sides to make it to the President’s pen.
Addiction is a Neutral Party
Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who was a leading supporter of the legislation, explained, “Because of the severity of the crisis, and particularly in states like mine, people are willing to work together and join hands and figure out how to solve it and forget the politics.”
Opioids don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. Addiction is present in both camps.
Individuals and families in every state and every socioeconomic class have been impacted by the opioid epidemic. In fact, drug addiction is one of a select number of issues that Republicans and Democrats agree is a “very big problem.”
Addiction Prevention and Treatment
The new legislation is designed to deal with this very big problem at both ends. NPR reports that it is aimed at “helping people overcome addiction and preventing addictions before they start.”
How? Like any legislation, it is multifaceted. The extensive package includes:
- Lifting Medicaid and Medicare restrictions to improve access to treatment
- Supporting the creation of comprehensive opioid recovery centers
- Addressing the overprescribing of opioids in America
- Authorizing government research into opioid alternatives for pain management
- Preventing foreign shipments of illegal drugs to the U.S.
Will This Be Enough?
Is this new legislation enough to turn the tide on the opioid crisis? Critics shout a resounding no. Even with the additional $6 billion Congress approved earlier this year, the funds allocated for fighting this battle fall short, critics say. The war is far from won, and we need continued efforts in this arena.
As Senator Maggie Hassan pointed out, “We have to treat this as a starting point. We have a lot more work to do.” Still, this work has to start somewhere, and hopefully this legislation is a step in the right direction.
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