On Thursday Oregon Governor Kate Brown appeared at the U.S. Capitol for the Senate health committee’s special hearing on opioids. Brown told the congressional committee that they should change their focus from treating drug abusers as criminals to treating them as patients.
Governor Brown has experienced the opioid epidemic in her own household. At the hearing she told the story of her son, who would abuse drugs daily to get by. Brown said a teacher caught him abusing drugs in high school, but when the family tried to get him help, their health insurance stood in the way.
In her statement she said;
“He had to go through two separate outpatient and inpatient treatments and relapses before our insurance would cover the residential program he so desperately needed.”
She went on to say how the War on Drugs is continuing to criminalize people who should be getting medical treatment not punished. She also went to to acknowledge that the federal government has taken note of the epidemic.
“That leaves us, the states, to right the wrongs of a war on drugs that has done nothing to address the issues that drive this health crisis, while our prisons and our foster care systems are filled to capacity with its victims, I know that you have held several sessions on the opioid crisis to date, and I applaud this committee for taking such a close, thoughtful look at the issue.”
In 2017 President Donald Trump declared the Opioid Epidemic a national crisis, claiming that his administration would take on the epidemic head on. The White House also recently proposed $13 billion in new funding for treatment with the Department of Health.