Supporting Addiction Treatment is the Right Thing to Do
As the debate over the Better Care Reconciliation Act continues, there has been a pivotal turn in many politicians’ perspectives on health care – even those who previously opposed Obamacare. There may be one reason to explain this shift: the opioid epidemic. There are many pressing issues concerning health care, including increased costs. But the opioid epidemic, which some experts believe may kill over 90,000 Americans a year in the near future, is by far the most significant.
Today, many politicians – on both a state and federal level – are acknowledging we need to treat addiction with the same compassion and care as other diseases. Politicians from states where many people opposed the Affordable Care Act but have been hard hit by addiction will argue that the legislation that has been put forth is not the solution. For example, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), called the proposed bill “unacceptable.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said it was “horrible.”
Addiction is a disease. The lives of those who suffer from this disease are valuable. Without access to effective treatments for addiction, many people do not have the resources to get better. Improving, not cutting access to addiction treatment will help save lives and improve recovery rates.
We can no longer ignore the cries of millions of people struggling with addiction. We can no longer perceive their plight as one we can neglect simply because some people look at addiction as a choice. If we’re going to solve the opioid epidemic, we have to recognize the value of the lives of those addicted. And that means getting them the help they need and deserve, provided without question.
Max Dorfman, MA
Max is a Science Writer at Center on Addiction