Florida Must Address Mounting Heroin Crisis With Addiction Treatment

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Every day, heroin and opioid addiction claims an estimated 125 lives across our country. In recent years, Florida has seen a dramatic increase in people affected by this epidemic, and nowhere is this more alarming than in Sarasota and Manatee counties, where already this year about 1,000 people have overdosed on heroin, including around 70 who died.adsense - mbote- car - artikel Responsive

We've seen local morgues exceed capacity, children left without parents and young people struck down in the prime of their lives. All of this sends chills down my spine, and I know many others feel the same.

Combating this problem is why I visited Manatee Memorial Hospital on Monday to meet with local health providers, law enforcement officials and other community leaders. We cannot continue to lose a generation of people to the disease of drug addiction. We cannot allow families to be devastated like this. We must do more to prevent these tragedies and treat addiction.

Earlier this year, I helped pass into law the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act, which authorizes programs and resources to expand treatment options to patients; provide greater resources to law enforcement to reverse overdoses, combat traffickers and help treat incarcerated addicts; allow students who are overcoming addiction apply for federal financial aid; and help empower those who are struggling to get clean. Other provisions in CARA will help prevent overdoses by better equipping federal, state and local officials to stop addiction before it starts.

This new law is a meaningful first step that will make a real difference in lives across the country, but more needs to be done to follow through in this fight. That's why I've urged Congress to fully fund all the programs authorized by this law.

The federal government should also step up its targeting of criminals outside the U.S. who are supplying these harmful, often deadly substances. At a Senate hearing I convened earlier this year, I examined the international roots of America’s heroin epidemic and why it requires a sustained strategy in coordination with our international partners to do everything possible to cut off the supply.

Heroin and opioid addiction is a disease we can overcome by leveraging modern science and medical advances, and working together across all levels of government and within every community to address this crisis.

Because we’ve seen this problem can affect anyone, in any family, in any neighborhood, our work has united people across the political spectrum. That’s the way it should be, because saving our friends and families from the ravages of drug addiction is a human issue, not a partisan one.

Marco Rubio is a Republican U.S. senator from Florida.

 

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Source : http://www.heraldtribune.com/opinion/20161024/rubio-law-targets-heroin-crisis

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