Senate Takes a Stand Against Drug Abuse

The Senate Is Taking a Stand Against Drug Abuse

Heroin and opioid abuse are at a critical level in this country. While everyone in government agrees that something needs to be done, many disagree on how to approach this problem. The Senate is proposing a bill designed to combat drug addiction in the country. The unfortunate truth is addiction and overdose are not limited to working-class citizens. Many politicians, including Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz have shared stories about friends and family members who have battled drug addiction. Because of this, both parties are working together to introduce the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

If passed, this legislation will change the way we help addicts by doing the following:

  • Give paramedics and police officers access to the drug naloxone. Naloxone is a drug that can counteract the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose. If first responders have easy access to the medication, they have the potential to save lives when responding to drug-related dispatch calls.
  • Implement a nationwide system that monitors patients’ drug prescriptions. In order to better identify who is using prescription medication to sell or abuse, doctors and pharmacists need to be able to access patients’ medical records. This can help doctors and pharmacists establish a pattern of substance abuse and flag certain patients.
  • Focus on treatment rather than punishment. America’s current stance on drug abuse has been to punish abusers with jail time. This often leads to a cycle of poverty. Offenders are expected to pay fines, court fees, and any fees associated with probation or substance abuse classes. Furthermore, it rarely helps drug addicts overcome their actual addiction. The proposed changes would focus more on treating addicts rather than throwing them in jail.
  • Keep drug convictions secret. Individuals who have been convicted of selling or possessing narcotics would not be required to answer questions about their conviction on Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. This would help a lot of potential college and university students who have fallen victim to drug abuse in the past.

Drug Abuse Should be an Issue this Election Season

Bipartisan support comes at a unique time, with both Democrats and Republicans working to establish a presidential candidate. However, the brutal reality is that heroin and opioid-related fatalities are at an all-time high in the 21stcentury. Furthermore, heroin overdoses have tripled in the past five years. States like New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont have been hit especially hard with drugs and firearms.

Despite previous concerns about the bill’s effectiveness, the Obama administration has recently expressed support for the proposed bill. This revolutionary bill is being viewed as a step in the right direction. Along with helping raise awareness of drug abuse, it helps break the cycle of dependency many addicts suffer from. It is also a step away from the failed War on Drugs, which gave out draconian style punishments for drug-related offenses.

The heroin pandemic has affected Americans across the board, regardless of class and background. By working together to correct this problem, Democrats and Republicans have demonstrated that the welfare of American citizens does come before party politics.