Drug addiction treatment
Critics of the War on Drugs claim not enough resources are used to counter the main reason for our drug problem -the demand for illicit drugs. Health advocates say that like alcoholism, drug addiction is a disease. They claim prison is no cure for millions of American drug users, nor is it the end of their addiction problems. They also claim that compared to incarceration, treatment for drug addiction is much cheaper and has more long-term benefits for both drug addicts and society. It could be said the demand for certain illicit drugs wax and wane over time and that methamphetamines and prescription pain killers are now the current scourge. In 2008, 13 million Americans over the age of 12 were reported to have used methamphetamine and more than 500,000 of those people were regular users. In 2007, nearly 5% of American high-school seniors and 4% of tenth-grade students reported using methamphetamine at least once in their life. Self-reporting by older methamphetamine users show many of these addicts first abused cocaine before switching to meth. Those suffering from this insidious addiction often fall into a vicious cycle of crime that includes DUI arrests, suspended driving, resisting arrest, battery, burglary, receiving stolen property and probation violation. This list does not include the many health problems suffered by meth addicts.

The abuse of and addiction to opioids including heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers has also become a serious problem. In 2012, it was estimated that more than 2 million Americans were addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers. In addition, at least 465,000 people were also hooked on heroin. Since 1999, the number of unintentional overdose deaths caused by prescription pain relievers has more than quadrupled. In 2011, there were 260,000 emergency room visits related to heroin overdoses, an increase of 60,000 over 2005. In 2013, the number of deaths caused by prescription pain killers was 16,235 while fatal heroin overdoses numbered 6,235. Advocates say that preventing drug abuse will require a multi-faceted strategy, including educational outreach programs and more substance abuse treatment facilities and treatment options.

Pending Legislation:
S.524 - Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015
S.1431 - Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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