In light of the upcoming presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit where each of the candidates stand on the issue of the heroin epidemic.
As you may or may not have heard by now, the heroin drug use in the U.S. has grown dramatically in the last few years. According to the UN’s “World Drug Report 2016,” heroin users have grown to about 1 million people in 2014, which is almost three times as much as in 2003.
Some states have been much more affected than others, namely, states like Ohio and Kentucky that have been hit with a surge of overdose cases in the past few months. Cincinnati experienced an unprecedented number of overdoses in just a few hours, leaving first responders stunned. This, paired with a number of other events regarding substance abuse, has made the heroin epidemic a topic of much discussion throughout both campaigns.
So, what exactly do our candidates have to say about it?
On the republican side, we have Trump, who has called it a “tremendous problem” and on the democratic side, we have Clinton, who referred to it as a “quiet epidemic.” We know it’s a huge problem and we know, until recently, it’s been a quiet fight but what are the plans moving forward?
Trump’s plan consists of building a wall along the border of the United States and Mexico. He believes that by doing so it will “stop the inflow of opioids.” He also has said that if he wins this election, he will “spend the money” to get addicts out of heroin addiction.
“We’re going to have borders again, and we’re going to work with you people to help you solve that very big problem,” Trump said in February.
He spoke briefly about the country’s inherent need for more treatment options:
“It’s very hard to get out of the addiction of heroin. We’re going to work with them, we’re going to spend the money, we’re going to get that habit broken.”
Trump has declined to go into further detail about his plans.
What about the surge in overdoses over the past few months? Trump hasn’t mentioned anything about them, but he did tweet this:
“Heroin overdoses are taking over our children and others in the MIDWEST. Coming in from our southern border. We need strong border & WALL!”
Clinton’s plan, which is called the “Initiative to Combat America’s Deadly Epidemic of Drug and Alcohol Addiction,” would allocate $10 billion over the span of ten years and would work to combat the epidemic from all vantage points. Clinton also made a point of including LifeSkills training for middle-school students to teach them about substance abuse and violence – a type of program that can help prevent substance abuse later in life.
Clinton is an advocate for treatment over incarceration and believes that in order to help the problem, that it needs to be approached as a mental health issue not a criminal justice issue. She calls for criminal justice reform as one of the best ways to combat the drug problem this country has.