Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Wednesday proposed a $10 billion plan to combat drug and alcohol addiction, an issue voters have raised with surprising frequency as the presidential candidate tours the country.
Clinton's plan calls for treating addiction as a public health issue, rather than a law enforcement one, and pledges more resources for treatment and recovery programs. That includes giving all first responders access to naloxone, a drug that can save the lives of people in the midst of an opioid overdose. The drug has been controversial, with some Republican governors blocking its wider distribution.
“Plain and simple, drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, not a moral failing — and we must treat it as such,” Clinton wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday morning in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
In a more detailed fact sheet posted on her campaign's website, Clinton promised to expand both addiction prevention programs and those to provide treatment and recovery to addicts. That means prioritizing treatment “over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenses and end the era of mass incarceration,” the fact-sheet states.
And Clinton also calls for better training for prescribeers, to limit prescriptions to addictive drugs like OxyContin. Clinton’s plan would devote $7.5 billion in federal-state partnerships to build up local treatment programs, with a potential federal match of $4 for every $1 a state invests.
From her very first events in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton has heard a surprising amount about the growth in opioid addiction from voters during her campaign. "To be candid, I didn’t expect what came next. In state after state, this issue came up again and again -- from so many people, from all walks of life, in small towns and big cities," she wrote.
The conversations led the campaign to roll out this new program, though many details, including how it would be funded, will have to come later.