It is the political season in America. 100 Million Ways prefers to avoid the distraction of political folly, but it is important for people with the disease that is substance use disorder (SUD) to know how the candidate you prefer will impact the opioid epidemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already difficult situation by reducing access to life-saving treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services, adding increased stress and isolation, and compounding the risk of overdoses and deaths. The pandemic has triggered an economic recession that threatens the survival of some addiction treatment centers and services. So far "in 2020 drug-related deaths in some states have climbed by over 30%" - and these numbers continue to climb. Clearly, solving the COVID-19 pandemic is at the top of the list in helping America build back a better approach to the opioid epidemic. So be sure your preferred candidate has a COVID-19 plan that best serves your interests (and the interests of America).
Before COVID-19, just one in five Americans with opioid use disorder/substance use disorder were able to access treatment. Currently, more than half of community health centers do not have the credentials to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Since "treatments with buprenorphine and methadone are associated with 38% and 59% decreases in opioid-related mortality, respectively," your preferred candidate should have a plan to expand MAT services. Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been instrumental in increasing coverage of mental health and SUD services. Nationally, "Medicaid expansion is associated with a 6% reduction in total deaths from opioid overdoses" in states that underwent expansion compared to non-expansion states. So with the Affordable Care Act under political scrutiny, be sure the candidate you prefer has a health insurance plan for Americans that meets your needs.
And while there America is not a Portugal or Canada, treating SUDs as diseases, rather than moral failings or crimes, with decriminalization of non-violent drug-related crimes needs another look. These are certainly more radical approaches - that accept SUD as a treatable disease. So be sure your preferred candidate has a rationale for his current approach and an approach for the future that best supports your needs.
Finally, without getting too political about the vast differences these candidates offer, be sure your preferred candidate has a position to address the opioid epidemic that you believe will offer the best prospects for you, your family and America.