Let’s be honest – the opiate addiction crisis exists in large part because our government thought it was okay for companies to make a lot of money prescribing addictive opiates to millions of people. This was a failure of government. And now the Federal Government must do all it can to address this crisis, including funding treatment for millions of Americans. There is a modern-day plague in America and we cannot rest until it is controlled and defeated. Americans are dying every day—7 every hour—destroying families and communities everywhere. I will declare a state of emergency and commit billions of dollars to the fight, much of it from the drug companies who generated and have profited from this plague. If you or someone in your family has an opiate problem, we will provide you the resources you need to help you recover. We owe you that.
Problems to be Solved
- The opioid epidemic is destroying the lives of millions of people directly, and untold millions more through the impact they’re seeing of it on their loved ones
- The regulation of drugs and the sale of those drugs for unintended uses must be improved
- Treatment resources are lacking with only a fraction of addicts able to effectively recover from their addiction
As President, I will…
- Declare a state of emergency and seek to bring down both the overdose numbers and the addiction levels by 20% within four years.
- Quintuple Federal funding, from $4.5 to $20 billion per year directed toward addiction treatment and rehabilitation for addictive opiates at the local levels.
- Impose a new tax on opiate manufacturers to fund treatment and rehabilitation, retroactive to 2005. The drug companies will pay to treat the conditions they have profited from.
- The FDA should allow only doctors who complete specialized education in pain management to prescribe opioids for more than a few days. All states should limit the size of prescriptions and require all opioid prescriptions to be made from hospitals instead of individual offices/practices. Right now our prescription rate is 4 times higher than in Europe – we need to bring it down. Doctors need to tell more patients that they’ll feel better on their own without having to take opiates.
- Direct the Dept. of Health and Human Services to focus their resources on combating the epidemic until it’s under control:
- Create a centralized database of solutions and effectiveness
- Create a centralized database of data to help analyze the trends of the opioid epidemic and better target resources
- Provide funding to localities to experiment with solutions that work for their communities
- Direct the FDA to regulate pharmaceutical company marketing tactics as much as they regulate the release of new drugs.
- Insurance companies should provide more oversight of prescriptions to curb abuse and report these measures to the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
- Overdose patients should be sent to mandatory treatment centers for three days to convince them to seek long-term treatment.
- Work with the DEA to enforce a much stricter limit on the number of opioid-based medications that can be produced in any given year and instruct manufacturers to report drugs prescribed in each community so as to monitor excess supply and probable abuse.
- Destigmatize medication-based treatment options for opiate addiction. We need to do whatever works best, including drugs that enable addicts to recover in stages.
- Allow local law enforcement authorities to selectively enforce criminal laws related to use and possession of opiates to facilitate treatment.
- Work to limit the importation of heroin and fentanyl, particularly from China. The Chinese government must do more to curb supply before it enters our country—we should negotiate for marked and demonstrated reductions in return for continued market access.