Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On President Obama’s Steps To Address Opiate and Heroin Abuse

“I applaud President Obama and Director Botticelli for taking important steps to curb addiction to powerful prescription opioids and heroin. The plan unveiled today, with commitments from such a wide array of public and private partners, represents a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to break the cycle of addiction. It also reflects how devastating opioid addiction has become. Communities across the country have seen the over-prescription of opioids result in a wave of debilitating addiction, too often leading to drugs once-thought unimaginable, like heroin, seeping into and crippling our families.

“The President’s plan appropriately treats addiction as an illness — a public health challenge — and marshals significant resources to prevent and confront the problem. In particular, I believe that the massive prescriber education initiative, along with a commitment to expand access to evidence-based treatment and the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone, will help to stop addiction in its tracks and save lives. In Vermont we have confronted this problem head-on. We learned that it takes an all-hands-on-deck approach, such as the plan unveiled today, involving prevention, treatment, and smart criminal justice policies, to begin to get ahead of addiction. While there are no easy answers, today our nation is making real progress.”

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