As White America Comes Out Of Shadows On Opioid Abuse, People Of Color Remain Hidden
More and more, white Americans are putting faces to the opioid epidemic through explicit obituaries, interviews and letters to lawmakers. However, blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans are noticeably absent, which represents a larger trend with the crisis itself. Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act helped expand treatment for substance abuse, and some worry what will happen if the law is dismantled.
'We Never Talked About It': As Opioid Deaths Rise, Families Of Color Stay Silent
There’s a new honesty these days about drug abuse. In obituaries, media interviews, and letters to lawmakers, families that have lost loved ones to overdoses are naming the drugs that killed them. As more and more people emerge from the shadows to put a face on the nation’s opioid epidemic, however, faces of color are notably absent. In part that reflects the makeup of the epidemic itself: While deaths among white Americans have soared, those among blacks and Latinos have stayed relatively steady. (Samuel, 2/13)
The New York Times:
Addiction Treatment Grew Under Health Law. Now What?
Chad Diaz began using heroin when he was 12. Now 36 and newly covered by Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, he is on Suboxone, a substitute opioid that eases withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and he is slowly pulling himself together. “This is the best my life has gone in many, many years,” Mr. Diaz, a big man wearing camouflage, said as he sat in a community health center here. If Congress and President Trump succeed in dismantling the Affordable Care Act, he will have no insurance to pay for his medication or counseling, and he fears he will slide back to heroin. (Seelye and Goodnough, 2/10)
In other news on the epidemic —
Former Rep. Frank Guinta Seen As Possible Trump 'Drug Czar'
Frank Guinta, a former New Hampshire lawmaker who helped create an opioid crisis task force in Congress, has discussed serving as President Donald Trump’s “drug czar” with Trump’s team, according to several individuals familiar with the discussions. Since the election, Guinta has spoken with top Trump aides about serving as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy — a position colloquially known as the nation’s “drug czar”— multiple individuals, speaking on condition of anonymity, told STAT this week. (Scott, 2/10)
The Wall Street Journal:
New Jersey Finds Challenge To Combating Addiction Crisis
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has staked his final year as governor on tackling the state’s addiction crisis, but efforts under way in the state show how difficult that task is. Citing long waiting lists at many treatment centers, Mr. Christie wants to increase the availability of both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. The governor has urged the state legislature to pass laws limiting the quantity of opioids doctors can prescribe and mandating insurance coverage for addiction treatment. (King, 2/11)
Taunton Confronts Opioid Epidemic As Deaths Continue To Rise In City
As the opioid epidemic escalated three years ago into a statewide public health emergency, Taunton boldly came forward and confronted the problem in a public way. A key moment came in February 2014, when Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey and the White House drug czar held a press conference about the crisis at a city fire station. As if to underscore the situation’s urgency, firefighters were dispatched to a reported overdose during the session. Despite the city’s direct approach, the number of people killed every year by opioids has grown over the past three years. (Crimaldi, 2/10)
State Task Force Recommends Schools Educate All Grade Levels On Substance Abuse
Teaching students of all ages social and emotional learning is a crucial step toward combating Ohio's drug addiction crisis, Attorney General Mike DeWine suggests. The Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education issued 15 recommendations Friday for schools across the state. These include requiring schools to report how they are teaching students to resist drug abuse. (Tenbarge, 2/10)