The Senate is preparing to discuss a bipartisan bill that seeks to address the nation’s growing issue with painkillers and heroin, but overlooks the bigger issue of where the supply is coming from, Mexico.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 states “The abuse of heroin and prescription pain-killers is having a devastating effect on public health and safety in communities across the United States.”
The bill acknowledges that the supply is coming from “Mexican drug trafficking organizations” however it fails to discuss how to prevent the drugs from coming into America. Instead, it focuses on allocating hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to fight the addiction issue.
The bill suggests more aggressive spending on treatment programs, and the option of sending drug abusers to these programs instead of prison.
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, called drug trafficking one of the major threats that faces the United States just last week. He stated, “The Southwest border seizures of heroin in the United States have doubled since 2010. Over 10,000 people died of heroin overdoses in 2014 — much of it laced with Fentanyl, which is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. In that same year, more than 28,000 died from opioid overdoses. Cocaine production in Colombia, from which most U.S. supplies originate, has increased significantly.”
The bill contains seven sections:
Title I goes over “prevention and education” and includes plans for educating doctors about the best prescribing practices and implementing a national education campaign.
Title II details law enforcement’s role in the issue, including alternatives to prison and police training programs to help save the lives of people who are overdosing.
Title III suggests new initiatives that target the younger populations to help this generation with their recovery and prevention efforts.
Title IV discusses the “collateral consequences” of drug abuse including job training in prisons.
Title V specifically calls for increased treatment and prevention with females and veterans.
Title VI suggests an incentive program to be offered to states who actively fight against opioid abuse within their state lines.
Finally, Title VII details the finances needed to implement the bill, and says the money should be cut from “Federal non-defense discretionary spending.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill calls for $312 million over the next five years to launch these various programs. Another $413 million would be given in the form of grants through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Many Washington insiders believe that bipartisan support of the bill is growing, so there’s a good chance that it could go into effect.
Editor’s note: Drug addiction cannot be fought from one side. This is an addiction, the law of supply and demand is hyperconnected. If there is a supply available, it creates a demand. If the demand is there, in the form of people already addicted, they will move heaven and earth to create a supply. One sided measures like this are pathetic.