The Senate passed a bill today to help the growing epidemic of heroin and painkiller abuse. Sponsored by New Hampshire Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) will focus on the following:
- Establish grant programs to help state and local governments improve education and treatment for drug abuse
- Encourage medical providers to reduce unnecessary prescriptions
- Commit resources to help veterans deal with addiction
- Give local law enforcement and mental health officials tools to lower the death rate from overdoses
- Provide states with incentives to make naloxone, which can counteract overdoses, more widely available by offering liability protections to officials who distribute it
This is much-needed, but I can’t help to think how drastically different the thinking is now versus the 80s and 90s when Crack-Cocaine destroyed inner cities. Instead of treatment the focus was on fighting the crack epidemic with force which included harsher penalties.
Unlike the crack epidemic, heroin addiction is being treated with compassion.
What would have the 80s and 90s been in the inner cities if the approach to the crack epidemic was treatment along with law enforcement?
If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!
Perhaps this is a case where policy makers have learned from the crack/cocaine epidemic the futility of addressing addiction with only punitive measures.
WECollie, it is possible the policy makers have learned from the past mistakes. But if that is the case the next move should be changing the old laws enacted during the Crack epidemic
Bobby, the harsh drug laws never ameliorated the crack problem. I suspect those laws were passed as a quick fix but it never addressed real problems driving people toward drugs. Reform is needed, how many lives were needlessly wasted away behind the walls of politicians being tough on crime?