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Monday, October 19, 2015

Politicians Reflect Changing Attitudes on Substance Abuse

politicians changing attitudes substance abuseFor decades, if drugs and alcohol were mentioned at all in a presidential campaign, it was in reference to the “war on drugs” or some scandal. Now, with the 2016 Presidential Primary season fast approaching, a new narrative about drug use is emerging from both Republican and Democratic candidates. Some presidential hopefuls are recognizing the terrible toll that substance abuse is taking on families and on society in general, and they are starting to move away from the policies of the past.

Less Incarceration, More Treatment

One of the biggest changes in the drug-use conversation has to do with sentencing of young adults and nonviolent offenders. In the past, much of the dialogue was centered on mandatory sentencing for illegal possession of drugs. In recent months, however, both conservative and liberal candidates are bringing attention to the fact that, as Carly Fiorina has put it, “When you criminalize drug abuse, you’re actually not treating it.”

Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and Martin O’Malley have all either proposed or signed legislation that makes substantive changes in the way non-violent drug offenses are prosecuted. Hillary Clinton is advocating a federally funded drug treatment program as one of her campaign issues. Jeb Bush, Christie, and Bernie Sanders have visited treatment centers and talked at town hall meetings with families touched by addiction. These politicians are starting to recognize addiction as a disease that can affect anyone.

Ditch the Stigma 

Part of the change in drug-related rhetoric is coming from candidates whose lives have also been touched by the tragedy of substance abuse. Christie lost a close friend from law school to addiction, and Fiorina’s stepdaughter died of an overdose. Bush has watched as his daughter deals with ongoing issues of recovery.

Perhaps, it is this first-hand knowledge of the heartache of substance abuse that is leading to a political shift from stigmatizing addiction to calling for effective treatment. Whatever the reason, recovering addicts, their families, and drug abuse specialists welcome the change.

Restorative Addiction Treatment

At Hope Academy, we recognize that the stigma of addiction can sometimes impede drug and alcohol recovery efforts. When you come to our beautiful CA seaside recovery center, labels are left behind. Individualized treatment, holistic therapies, college classes, and vocational training help you restore your mind, body, and spirit and prepare you for a life beyond drug abuse. Our skillful medical professionals and caring staff focus on helping you achieve sobriety and lasting recovery. Call 866-930-4673 to learn about our credentialed addiction specialists or to check out insurance and financing options for your individual recovery needs.
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