What Are 2020 Presidential Candidates Planning to Do About the Opioid Epidemic?

What Are 2020 Presidential Candidates Planning to Do About the Opioid Epidemic?


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With the last of the Democratic debates and the Iowa caucuses finished, the remaining candidates have debated solutions on some of the nation’s biggest issues from healthcare to foreign policy. But one big issue sweeping the nation has been left out and that is the ongoing opioid crisis. Opioids on average claim over 130 lives every day in this nation, but little, if anything, has been said about it on the national stage.

This does not mean that all presidential candidates don’t have plans to tackle this crisis. They just don’t have it as a focal point of their campaigns. Some plans are strictly structured around the opioid crisis, whereas others are part of a larger plan to tackle alcohol and drug abuse in general. With just under 20 percent of the population treated for drug or alcohol abuse, the problem has proven to be pervasive. Here are the proposals from a few of the candidates who received delegates in the Iowa caucuses below:

  • Pete Buttigieg: Previous South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete details another plan focusing on $100 billion but in the form of a ten-year community innovation grant program. His plan emphasizes prevention in the long term with a focus on accessibility for veterans. Since he does not have experience in the federal government like some other candidates, Buttigieg has no track record of sponsoring or supporting bills on the issue.

  • Amy Klobuchar: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has a platform in place to take mental health and drug addiction head-on. The 100 billion dollar proposal emphasizes investing in mental health and drug addiction treatment by expanding treatment capacity, providing early screenings, and investing in further research and development. While the details on how she plans to pay for it aren’t 100 percent clear, it does state that it will be partially paid by taxing the sale of all future opioids.
  • Bernie Sanders: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has already presented legislation on the ongoing opioid crisis. In 2019, Bernie Sanders introduced the Opioid Crisis Accountability Act, which would hold the pharmaceutical industry more accountable for their wrongdoings by imposing fines for illegal practices done by manufacturers and criminal fines on executives involved if necessary. The bill has yet to be passed into law.
  • Elizabeth Warren: Senator Warren has a comprehensive plan to deal with the opioid crisis. Known as the CARE Act, her plan would distribute $100 billion throughout the country so that everyone gets the help they need. The money received depends on the size and needs of the state/city/territory. She plans to fund this by taxing the richest 75,000 people in the US.

While other candidates have addressed the issue, not all of them have fared well in caucuses so far. Or in some cases, such as Joe Biden, don’t have any significant plans outlined to deal with the opioid crisis on a national level. It’s safe to say that the opioid crisis hasn’t been at the forefront of a majority of candidate’s platforms. That is a shame because this health and social issue definitely deserves its own platform.

If you would like to read more about the 2020 election, check out this article: ‘This Could Be the Last Free and Fair Election in American History’

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