Executive Briefings

Supply-Chain Disconnect: Opioid Crisis Is 'Public Health Epidemic,' Congressman Says

Former congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, who has struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism, says the country is in "deep, deep denial" about the opioid crisis.

Supply-Chain Disconnect: Opioid Crisis Is 'Public Health Epidemic,' Congressman Says

"If this were an infectious disease, we'd be throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at it right now," Kennedy recently told The Washington Post.

Kennedy, the author of “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” and a member on the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, said he does not support the use of block grants, which are part of the Republican spending package, to help states fund addiction treatment and mental health programs for low-income individuals.

“They’re using grants as a way of really doing what they don’t want to vote on doing, and that’s sharply cutting the amount of money that goes to treatment. So, they say they’re giving the same amount but they’re letting states to do the dirty work,” Kennedy told the Washington Post’s Mary Jordan. “People with addiction and mental illness are the most unpopular of all constituencies so they’re the easiest people to drop by the wayside.”

Kennedy also drew a connection between overdoses and suicides, saying that “we have no clue what the true suicide rate” is in the United States.

“You cannot divorce the suicide rate from the opiate overdose rate,” he said.

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"If this were an infectious disease, we'd be throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at it right now," Kennedy recently told The Washington Post.

Kennedy, the author of “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” and a member on the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, said he does not support the use of block grants, which are part of the Republican spending package, to help states fund addiction treatment and mental health programs for low-income individuals.

“They’re using grants as a way of really doing what they don’t want to vote on doing, and that’s sharply cutting the amount of money that goes to treatment. So, they say they’re giving the same amount but they’re letting states to do the dirty work,” Kennedy told the Washington Post’s Mary Jordan. “People with addiction and mental illness are the most unpopular of all constituencies so they’re the easiest people to drop by the wayside.”

Kennedy also drew a connection between overdoses and suicides, saying that “we have no clue what the true suicide rate” is in the United States.

“You cannot divorce the suicide rate from the opiate overdose rate,” he said.

Read Full Article

Supply-Chain Disconnect: Opioid Crisis Is 'Public Health Epidemic,' Congressman Says