The election year is upon us, and hopeful candidates are touring the country and making media appearances, laying out their plans for office, and selling their proposed policies. There are certain topics you can count on every year: The economy, taxes, veterans, foreign policy and health care.
This year, another hot topic is drug addiction.
Not The Same War On Drugs
In the past, the American drug problem was seen as something that needed to be stamped out with force. The “war on drugs” was big in the 80’s, and created a set of policies and a general attitude toward addiction that did little more than criminalize it and add to the already negative stigma.
These policies did little if anything to cut down on addiction. Instead, prisons and jails filled up with people who were sick and needed help. Petty crimes such as possession led to heavy sentences with the three strikes law.
Times Are Changing
Finally, things seem to be changing. Part of this is the “new” drug epidemic. In recent years, America, as well as other countries, have experienced a wave of addiction to prescription opiates, spurred by the abundance of painkillers on the market, and the ease with which they have been prescribed.
This has resulted in everything America thought it knew about the addict being turned on its head. The addict is no longer the guy in the alleyway, it’s your child’s teacher. It’s the businessman, the housewife, the nurse and the police officer. Suburban kids from “good” families and neighborhoods are overdosing on oxycontin.
Even the politicians are being affected, with Jeb Bush acknowledging his daughter’s troubles with addiction.
Presidential Candidates Stances On Improved Treatment For Addiction
Overwhelmingly, most candidates appear to be in favor of improved treatment for addiction, and reduced criminalization. They may vary on that last part. Candidates such as Ben Carson is patently against the legalization of marijuana, for example.
Candidate Bernie Sanders hasn’t been too forthcoming on his stance on addiction, but he has been outspoken about the problems with incarcerating those who are addicted, and that there needs to be a better way.
Jeb Bush has gone on record as saying that he intends to improve access and availability of addiction treatment. However, his actions have not shown that he has any compassion for those suffering from drug addiction, despite the fact his own daughter has struggled with it. He opposed a bill that would take 10,000 non-violent criminals and place them in treatment instead of jail. This is more of a “war on drugs” stance, and does not bode well for the state of addiction policies should he be elected.
Donald Trump blames immigrants for our drug problem and has also gone on record saying that all drugs should be legalized. Again, this does not address the real issues facing Americans who are addicted.
Hillary Clinton has proposed one of the most comprehensive drug and addiction policies, that covers prevention, treatment, and changes in the legal handling of low-level drug offenses.
So What Will Really Happen?
It’s hard to tell. Many candidates make promises on certain issues or claim to hold a position on a certain issue only to have a change of heart later.
It’s a hot topic now, but will it remain so when the election is over? Will we see increased funding, fewer arrests, and more treatment? There is no real way to tell. Hopefully, the next president will follow through with policies that will help turn the tide and bring an end to the outdated policies and a woeful lack of care that persons afflicted with addiction have been experiencing.
How To Get Help
If you are struggling with addiction, Broadway Treatment Center can help. We offer comprehensive services to our clients including residential treatment, outpatient aftercare, jail diversion and sober living homes. We provide cutting-edge treatment therapies in our award-winning treatment facility. If you are ready to make a positive change in our life, we are there to help you do it. Call 714-443-8218 to get started.