Battling Opioid Addiction
Last year nearly 50,000 Americans needlessly died of opioid overdoses. This is an epidemic that has not spared the neighborhoods of southern Brooklyn. To break the cycle of addiction and death that are decimating communities like ours across the country, we need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy.
My plan to address the opioid epidemic includes:
Expanding access to medical-based treatment programs, including the use of methadone and buprenorphine, which are proven to help opioid patients stabilize their lives, thereby allowing them to address the root causes of their addiction. The research is overwhelmingly clear that abstinence only treatment programs do nothing to break the chemical dependencies formed in the brain from opioid use and can lead to higher rates of relapses and overdoses.
Providing supportive wrap-around services for all patients being treated for opioid addiction. Experts agree that in addition to medical care, supportive services including social and emotional support, as well as job training and placement can significantly increase the likelihood of recovery and minimize the risk of relapse for patients battling addiction.
Expand distribution of Narcan and educate caregivers on how to administer it. Narcan can help stop fatal overdoses. Everyone in our community should know how to use it, just like CPR. You never know when you can save a life.
Enacting comprehensive, age appropriate drug education for all new york public school students. The research is clear that students who understand how and why opioids are dangerous to their health are less likely to experiment with opioids - and ultimately, heroin - than students who are taught avoidance only.
Passing harsher penalties for anyone who fraudulently and illegally distributes opioids criminally responsible. We must crack down on "pill mills" where doctors are writing fraudulent prescriptions for painkillers as well as on big pharmaceutical companies that fraudulently induce doctors to prescribe opioids while ignoring the overwhelming medical science about the dangers of overuse.