Last month Minnesota Senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar unveiled a policy to address, treat and prevent addiction and mental illness. Klobuchar’s personal experience helping her father overcome alcoholism and substance abuse has reinforced her belief that neither mental illness nor addiction discriminates. Although her incipient plan has yet to delve into the specifics of how it will address these issues, and has so far only taken aim at broader factors, Klobuchar has estimated that this large-scale initiative could potentially cost up to $100 billion.
One of the specifics of the plan includes instituting a two-cent fee on every milligram of active opioid ingredient in prescription drugs. Klobuchar hopes to use this tax, as well as money from lawsuits brought against drug companies that have marketed addictive painkillers, to help pay for most of the cost of the plan. Alongside these resources, she has proposed changing a tax loophole and passing two new bills, the CREATES Act and new Pay-for-Delay legislation, in order to procure more funding.
Putting the Plan into Motion
Klobuchar’s proposal is divided into three main parts: prevention and early intervention, treatment and justice, and economic opportunity and ongoing recovery. Her plans includes increasing the number of beds in treatment centers and launching, as described by her, “aggressive” national awareness campaigns to help educate the public. As part of this campaign, and to boost substance abuse awareness as a whole, Klobuchar also proposes making significant and meaningful investments into the National Institutes of Health. Klobuchar also desires to expand funding for state and local communities, which would include funding for mental health programs at schools, training for doctors, and launching a national suicide prevention campaign.
Klobuchar also favors expanding access to treatment resources in underserved communities and cultivating awareness around mental health and substance abuse. She’s focused on fighting the opioid crisis by curbing “doctor shopping” and pushing for pain treatment alternatives. “Nearly half of Americans have a family member or close friend who’s been addicted to drugs. And 1 in 5 Americans experiences a mental health condition,” she writes in a post for her supporters.
In what promises to be the longest presidential campaign season in American history, Recovery Unplugged is committed to identifying candidates’ plans to fight substance use disorder in America. While it is a leading public health issue that claimed the lives of over 70,000 Americans in 2017, addiction continues to be a lesser-discussed issue on the campaign trail…let’s change the conversation.