In every other country outside of the United States, there isn’t a huge amount of inmates currently serving time for drug related addiction crimes. Americans have thousands of inmates living in the prison system for what some feel is a mental issue fighting their own addictions, versus crimes that were violent or injured someone else. Many Americans have been fighting for decades to gain some change on this growing addiction epidemic, asking that instead of many of these prisoners going to serve sentences in jails all over the country that they get some type of addiction support instead. Addiction after all, is a terrible disease that can often haunt the person using for many, many years.
In recent health news on NPR there has been movement with the Senate in getting a bill approved that will modify the way law enforcement and health care administrators handle those living with addictions to opiates specifically. The next step is getting the final approval from President Obama, who as past reports have dictated, will have no qualms about signing his approval. His only concern seemed to be that there was a lack in funding for the effort.
The bill will offer a task force dedicated to finding sources on how to effectively treat pain that won’t involve opiates. Another layer of the bill will provide a heavy push to ask states to enforce some form of prescription drug monitoring system in place to avoid any loopholes that could allow for abuse of these popular pills. The President has already asked for a whopping $1.1 billion to help account for addiction treatment, but thus far, there has only been allotted approval for roughly half of that amount by the House and Senate Republicans. This bill would also alter those who would have the authority to prescribe such medications to further avoid prescription abuse by those who may not have the education behind what the signs of patient addiction entail.
Practioners for instance, have generally had the power to write scripts just as a doctor would, but now that may all change for these popular schedule II and III drugs. Hopefully, a wave of change will come to start decreasing the amount of opiates that seem to be readily available to anyone strolling into a doctor’s office.