The Opioid (Heroin, Fentanyl) Addiction Epidemic

The solution needs to be flexible, creative & continually refreshed. None of these are attributes that our government does very well.

The history of how it happened. 

From the 1990s-2000s, experts in the Medical community, pharmaceutical companies, Gov. agencies & representatives & national non-profits lobbied for the increased use of opioid therapy for chronic pain. They assured Gov. & the public that it was safe and not addictive.
The Campaign “Pain as the 5th vital signal” was created and endorsed.
Boston Medical Center, The World Health Org, Purdue pharmaceutical company, Beth Israel Medical Center, The American Pain Foundation, even the Veterans Administration are just of few of the many who help create & promote this movement. Suppliers help create demand while manufacturers created new products to sell. They lobbied against state & federal attempts to limit opioid use opposed FDA proposal to require doctors to be certified in order for them to prescribe opioids. Congress passed H.R. 471, Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015. The pharmaceutical lobbyist gave $106 million to Congress to influence them on H.R. 471 & other legislation.
Members of Congress from the State of Maryland took over $250,000 from interest groups that supported the bill. All the while, all parties involved ignored the warning signs from the DEA, media reports, the FDA & the GAO.

1997-2002 Prescriptions Increased
Morphine P.X. increased by 73%
Hydro morphine P.X. increased by 96%
Fentanyl P.X. increased by 226%
Oxycodone P.X. increased by 402%

A few Addiction Statistics

2016 National Survey on Drug Use
2.1 million Americans suffered from substance addiction, including 626 thousand to heroin.
75% of heroin users used P.X. Opioids before switching.

This issue is a microcosm of many of the issues we face as a society. Special interest used their influence with experts (science) and Gov. to help create this problem now they ask you & I to allow them to use more of our property (tax dollars) to solve it. Gov. does have its place in helping, but it is not the complete answer to the problem.

At the heart of it, this is an addiction problem. It will be as a community that we face and deal with it. There is no one size fits all solution. The solution needs to be flexible, creative & continually refreshed. None of these are attributes that our Gov. does very well.
The solution will have to be a full scale integrated one that comes from all sectors of our community Gov. local state & Fed, Health care providers, Non-profits, and the individual citizens.

Comprehensive education national & local aimed to educate the public on the dangers of opioid use and alternative treatments.
Congress, State & local Gov. need to remove any cumbersome regulations & special requirements that prevent greater access to treatments. Greater access to Drugs such as Naloxone, Buprenorphine & methadone. These drugs must be easier to get than heroin for those who need them. Removing Certificates of Need (CON) requirements will allow for the increase in treatment facilities without Gov. interference. We need Improved coordination of care & oversight by Health Care providers, Pharmacies, Hospitals, Clinics, Insurance companies (Including Medicare & Medicaid). I will encourage & help foster oversight by consumer & patient advocacy groups both nationally and in local communities. I will advocate for the development & promotion of alternative treatments to chronic pain.
Since addiction rates are higher in poorer & rural areas,
I will work to improve socioeconomic conditions in poorer & rural areas by fighting to remove Gov. & Corp. interference into the market place so that every individual has the maximum of economic freedom.
I will stand up for Legal & Criminal justice reform by allowing Judges & Prosecutors more flexibility to reduce or use alternative sentences for addicted, drug-related, non-violent offenders. I will fight to make sure that funding for programs should be dependent on a results-based Outcome.

New Legislation I will submit in the first ten days of taking office to assist in funding. It can be a powerful tool to allow each community more control of funding so they can direct resources where they get used most efficiently used best. The Universal Charitable Credit it can be used by Citizens at the State & federal level to send their tax dollars (resources) to the organizations that produce the most significant results.

Treat Addiction first.

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