October 28, 2017

Having it both ways

So this past week we heard that the president declared America's opioid crisis to be a public health emergency. We can at least agree on that. 

Too bad he didn't mention anything about the funding needed to deal with it.

In 2015, there were more than 2.5 million Americans with opioid use disorder according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. That year, more than 33,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses, which is triple the death rate for 2000. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that the US, with less than 5 percent of the world's population, accounts for about a quarter of drug related deaths.

Unfortunately, the same person who declared the emergency also wants to destroy the Affordable Care Act, which has brought drug treatment to many Americans.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, the ACA has expanded treatment options through four main mechanisms: expanded coverage, insurance rules requiring substance abuse treatment, enhanced mental health parity, and opportunities for integrating substance abuse treatment with mainstream health care. An estimated 1.6 million Americans received coverage through Medicaid expansion alone.

So it seems that what we have here is the declaration of an emergency along with a declaration of war on one of the few things that is actually working to deal with it.

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