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Substance Use/Addiction

It’s killing tens of thousands of Americans every year. Expanding access to highly effective medication-assisted treatment and empowering nurse practitioners to provide primary care are key to meeting the challenge.
State leaders have yet to apply for millions in funding for mental health services made available through the American Rescue Plan Act. 2020 saw a 37 percent increase in statewide opioid overdoses.
Police officials claim the seizures and forfeitures are used to take down drug and criminal networks, but critics say the laws disproportionately impact poor people and make it too easy for property to be taken without evidence.
Preliminary data suggests that accidental drug overdose deaths decreased from 2020 to 2021, but it is unclear if the drop is due to the city’s response programs. In many ways COVID-19 has made help more accessible.
The city joins every county in the state as it signed the billion-dollar deal just ahead of the deadline, following months of pushback. The money will fund treatment services, medicine distribution and educational outreach.
To curb the introduction of drugs into the prison system, the state has hired a Florida-based firm to scan inmate mail, check it for contraband and then send digital copies of the mail to each prison.
The state’s jail population increased 60 percent from 2000 to 2019, more than five times the state’s overall population growth, resulting in overcrowding and understaffing. The fallout can be deadly.
Last spring, a majority of lawmakers approved removing some supplies from the list of banned drug equipment but it wasn’t a large enough margin to overturn the veto from Gov. Hogan. Efforts to overturn the veto continue.
The state’s experiment with decriminalizing hard drugs has connected few people with treatment options. But officials urge patience for results as COVID-19 may have impacted participation so far.
State and local governments should devote a substantial share of the billions in opioid settlement funds to get victims of the epidemic housed in settings where they can get the help they need to recover.
We’ve tried taxing drinkers, smokers and soda-guzzlers. Sometimes it helps, improving the public’s health, even if it doesn’t produce a lot of revenue. But it still raises equity and moral issues.
A $26 billion pharmaceutical settlement would resolve lawsuits by the state attorney general, counties and city governments across the state. But some officials don’t agree with the terms of the settlement and aren’t signing on.
Billions of dollars will be flowing to states and localities from opioid lawsuit settlements and court rulings. They need to set up a framework for dedicating the money to programs that save lives.
There are too many barriers to making medications that have been proved to help manage the disease available in residential treatment facilities. States should move to require the medications people need.