Hillary Clinton added a new pillar to her presidential campaign: substance abuse treatment and prevention.
New Hampshire and Iowa are two of the regions where the advisers from the Democratic candidate campaign made the first two stops.
The focus now heavily stresses the importance of both treating and preventing substance abuse and creating successful policies that can be implemented nationwide.
The anticipated start of the talks took place last week when Ann O’Leary and Maya Harris conducted video conferences with legislators and advocates in both New Hampshire and Iowa.
Both these states will be in the early round of voting and are among the states where, according to Hillary Clinton, the ‘quiet epidemic’ of substance abuse is creeping on the citizens, regardless of the urban or rural environment.
Both states are warmly welcoming the initiatives and fully support the active implication of Mrs. Clinton in the battle.
Tym Rourk of the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention timely commented that:
“Nobody has the option anymore to talk about addiction in the abstract, as if it happens to somebody else”.
Since announcing the bid for the 2016 presidential run, Hillary Clinton listened to the hints that were directed at struggling with this particular issue.
And as the former first lady declared, the more this issue was set on the discussion tables, the more she became convinced that substance abuse is a mental health related issue and as such should be treated, not punished. Consequently, she decided to take it up as a challenge to overcome in the presidential campaign.
Accurate and efficient policy responses are being looked into now. Priority is being given to solutions that emphasize prevention in front of criminalization and easier access to treatment facilities, as well as mental health services provided in these specialized facilities. Funding also tops the list.
As of yet, responses are highly positive and commend the initiative. In Iowa, State Representative Marti Anderson, also a Democrat, declared that her career was built on dealing with victims of crimes.
As such, her understanding of limited immunity in the face of prosecution works to the extent of treatment before criminalization and timely responses for people finding themselves in the situation of substance abuse either directly or indirectly.
Her call for funding of treatment facilities for people that abuse any type of substance instead of funding prisons to punish this behavior was met with sympathy.
“And in addition to that, I think we need to look at criminal codes and quit putting people into prison for being addicted”, Mrs. Anderson stated.
In New Hampshire, advocates of substance abuse treatment and prevention revealed that no less than one in ten persons in the state is diagnosed with substance abuse disorder. Yet, access to treatment is hard to get by.
To this extent, funding and facilities are of utmost importance. And Hillary Clinton’s campaign is there to do just do. Fight alongside vested actors in the communities to find solutions for the treatment and prevention of substance abuse.
For a wider picture, and referring exclusively to heroin, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data that indicates a growth in death number from 3,041 to 8,260 in the period between 2008 and 2013.
That alone should be an alarm signal that fully justifies the actions now underway in Iowa and New Hampshire.
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