Over the past few weeks, the topic of substance abuse has been addressed among presidential candidates. Unlike previous presidential campaigns, drug abuse is receiving a much needed spotlight attention.
Substance Abuse: New Hampshire Town Hall Meeting
Footage of Chris Christie’s presentation at his New Hampshire’s Town Hall Meeting went viral last week. Compassionately, he shared a personal story about a friend he attended law school with who became addicted to pain medication after a back injury. Even with intervention and visits to inpatient rehab facilities, Christie’s close friend succumbed to the disease and passed away 10 years after the addiction took hold.
He told guests at the meeting, “It can happen to anyone. We have to stop judging and start giving them the tools they need to get better.”
According to a recent state poll in New Hampshire, participants ranked drug abuse as one of the most pressing issues for the 2016 presidential election. Drug abuse rated higher for public need than jobs and economy.
A large part of this response has to do with New Hampshire’s numbers for drug overdose deaths. Data is currently showing this year will likely surpass the 326 deaths in 2014.
San Diego recovery centers and those across the nation, including advocates, are thankful and relieved to know that presidential candidates are establishing a strong foothold in how to help those suffering from drug addiction.
Advocates For Substance Abuse and Mental Health
As presidential candidates take an open and sobering look at drug awareness and solutions, advocates in the substance abuse and mental health field are working hard in continuing to trigger a “call to action.”
And the candidates are listening.
The impetus for much of the awareness has to do with prescription drug abuse. Numerous people across the nation are affected by it, and it is creeping in to all levels of socioeconomic and educational levels.
WSJ Coverage: Drug Addiction
Recently, Shelby Holliday of the Wall Street Journal reported how while presidential candidates are readying for their debates, a number of them are talking about drug abuse and the dire need to make the investment toward treating Americans.
In the video clip, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, “We’re the first state in the country that says for nonviolent, non-dealing drug offenders you no longer go to jail. You go to inpatient mandatory drug treatment.” He continued, “And I think that should be the pattern for the whole country.”
Holliday reported that “addiction” has become a “hot topic” for Democrats and Republicans.
In the clip, candidate Carly Fiorina called drug addiction an epidemic which has taken too many young peoples’ lives.
Holliday then reiterated the overdose deaths in New Hampshire.
The WSJ reporter then went on to say, “Across the U.S., drug overdose does now account for more deaths than car accidents. And according to the CDC about half of those are attributed to prescription pills.”
Toward the end of the video, Hillary Clinton spoke about drug addiction in the country.
Clinton has shared her suggested $10 billion criminal justice initiative, which is also comprised of raising state grants for drug treatment.
In the footage Clinton said, “I don’t think I would have been talking about this issue had I not spent several months listening to people. Everywhere I went somebody raised it with me, sometimes publicly, sometimes afterwards privately. So that’s why I have a comprehensive agenda.”
From illegal substances to prescription drug abuse, presidential hopefuls are realizing that questions swirling around an American epidemic demand new answers.