- A public information campaign should be started at the federal level that educates the general public on the nature of the disease of addiction and how families can deal with a loved one who is addicted and in danger of overdose.
Full Spectrum Prevention
Programs to educate children on the dangers of drug usage, including the impact of marijuana on the developing brain, the mechanisms of addiction, and the dangers of opioid use, should be fully funded.
The minimum age to purchase marijuana in states that permit it should be raised to 25 years, due to the fact that the brain does not finish development until that age, the fact that marijuana use has such an impact on the developing brain, and that modern marijuana is so potent.
Marijuana should be sold with warning labels that indicate the risks it poses to the developing brain.
Marijuana sales should be required to carry a potency rating, in the same manner that alcohol is required to post a percent or proof rating.
Treatment and Recovery
Inpatient and outpatient treatment and recovery programs should be expanded and carefully regulated to ensure ethical, compassionate, and competent treatment. Where these programs include methadone, they must include counseling and psychiatric care.
Safe use areas should be established in areas of prevalent heroin use. Addicts should be offered clean needles. NARCAN should be available. A trained medical person should be present to administer the program. Available recovery programs should be offered to addicts who enter these centers.
The number of dual-diagnosis programs must be expanded via tax incentives or some other incentives.
Transition out of inpatient treatment must be carefully managed and gradual, which will require resources to support.
Because the heroin epidemic poses such a national security threat, possession of heroin with intent to sell, regardless of amount should be a federal crime.
Sentencing guidelines for intent to sell should be a minimum of one year for small amounts and more for larger amounts.
Incarceration should be done at a separate federal facility specially designed for this crime. Incarceration conditions, while humane, should be such that no one would want to re-commence distribution of heroin, including immigrants.
Funding will be required for facilities, which can be temporary in nature, and for additional DEA law enforcement personnel dedicated to this crime.
Possession of heroin with intent to use should not be a criminal offense.
The use of intervention programs such as drug courts should be embraced and expanded by state legislatures
The New England Journal of Medicine 1980“Porter and Jick” letter titled “Addiction Rare in Patients Treated with Narcotics” should be thoroughly explained an refuted within the medical community.
Stricter guidelines that are scientifically determined should be promulgated that will govern opioid prescriptions.
Pharmacies should only be permitted to dispense small amounts of opiate-based painkillers per prescription.
States should e required to share prescription drug databases to prevent patients from abusing the system to obtain more pills.
Insurance companies should pay for comprehensive pain management vice simple drug prescription.
Opiate pharmaceuticals should be taxed to pay for drug court and treatment programs.
Research should be encouraged and, where feasible, funded to raise the sophistication of pain management techniques and to formulate effective painkillers that are not opioid-based and not addictive.
We support mandatory physician training for pain management and opioid prescription practices