Last Friday, President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act into law. The bill is set out to fight against opioid addiction; an epidemic that is killing our youth, loved ones and friends.
The new legislation is intended to generate new treatment programs, prevention methods and alternatives to incarceration for those who suffer with opioid addiction. Although Obama asked for $1 billion in new spending, the bill will only authorize $181 million.
The President said in a statement last week “I am deeply disappointed that Republicans failed to provide any real resources for those seeking addiction treatment to get the care that they need. In fact, they blocked efforts by Democrats to include $920 million in treatment funding.”
Obama went on to say that approximately 78 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose, mentioned that the bill only included modest steps in addressing the addiction crisis and vowed to seek additional funding.
Another portion of the bill that has failed to receive any funding, but was signed into law on Friday, is a measure designed to aid infants born addicted to opioids or other drugs.
The numbers are shocking.
Since 2010, 110 addicted babies have died from issues that may have been treatable. Each of these newborns were sent home to families that were not equipped to care for them.
In 2013, 27,315 infants were diagnosed with newborn drug withdrawal syndrome; that is, approximately one baby born addicted every 19 minutes in the United States.
This law was put into effect in 2003, but was regularly ignored. It requires hospitals and social services to report, track and assist addicted newborns and their parents.
The new version of this law assures a non-punitive approach to the parents. It intends to help drug-dependent newborns and includes “safe-care plans”, which allow for them to stay at home with families while receiving additional help.
Some Senators and other politicians have mentioned that this law is definitely a step in the right direction, but wonder how beneficial it will be without more funding involved.
In the words of our President, “Given the scope of this crisis, some action is better than none.”
The reality is, “some action” equates to no action at all. When we break it down to a numbers game, this is what we see. There are 2.2 million opioid addicts in America to date. With our ever-so-generous bill of $181 million, that leaves each individual with approximately $82 in drug and alcohol funding.
These efforts mirror those of the methadone and suboxone movement. Instead of actually treating the infection, we are merely placing a band-aid over the wound.
Once again, our government is paying us lip service.
Opioid addiction is ripping through our families, neighborhoods and communities. It robs us of our happiness and peace. Nevertheless, there is another way. There is hope through recovery.
Contact our Admissions Specialist today and get the help that you need.