The opioid pandemic must be dealt with at local, state, and federal levels. It must also be acknowledged that there should have been more decisive action taken on substance abuse when it was identified as a problem that affected mostly people of color. Having said that we know that we cannot incarcerate our way out of this problem.
There are two points of attack that we must engage in. The first is in the area of legal prescription drugs and the second is in illegal use of prescription drugs and illegal drugs in general.
We must pass legislation to reduce the use of prescription opioids. The amount of prescribed opioids is a money grab that has cost thousands of lives. While I let the Green Party’s candidate for Attorney General discuss prosecution of pharmaceutical executives and out of control doctors, legislatively, we need to revise and create the laws that stop this predatory capitalistic practice of over prescribing opioids. There are non-opioid medications that relieve pain better than the drugs that are killing fellow New Yorkers.
We must legalize and regulate recreational drugs in the same way we do alcohol. Not only will this have minimal effect on overall usage, it will minimize overdose deaths. But this will only be effective if we have single-payer health care with preventative treatment, short and long term addiction treatment, and mental health treatment all included. This is why I will be putting my name on bill S. 4738 on my first day in office.
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For more information on the New York Health Act, see the YouTube video:
Also see the Green Party of Monroe County's platform plank on addiction.
To see video highlighting the issue, watch this video: