Because addiction can happen so quickly and has become so common, effective treatment is critical. Experts and research show that medication-assisted treatments have proven to address addiction and promote recovery – especially when paired with therapy and community support.
Unfortunately, right now, there simply aren’t enough treatment programs around the state. Funding is wholly inadequate. That’s something we must value more and need to fix.
We need to effectively enforce our criminal laws on this issue. It is critical that we aggressively go after the dealers and traffickers who push heroin on people with opioid addictions. Heroin is much cheaper and readily available than prescription opioids, and it’s even more deadly. People who profit off others’ misery and death must be punished.
There is a difference between someone who pushes opioids on people and someone who has substance use disorder – a chronic illness. Jail time is usually not the best way to treat addiction. At four times the cost, prison is certainly less cost-effective than treatment.
Helping someone treat their addiction so they get well is better not only for the person, but their family and community. While in treatment, the person can live at home, provide for their family, get healthy, work, pay taxes, and contribute to society instead of living on the taxpayers’ dime in jail.
Naloxone, or Narcan, is a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. Across North Carolina, it’s been administered 6,000 times by community members and first responders to save lives. We must work with law enforcement to make sure police departments and sheriff offices have access to this life-saving drug.
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