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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    WASHINGTON — In a testy election year likely to see scant collaboration between Republicans and Democrats, there’s a glint of hope in Congress for a bipartisan bill aimed at fighting heroin and opioid addiction — a deadly, growing problem that afflicts states both red and blue.

    Senate and House bills establishing grants to combat abuse, improve treatment and bolster some law enforcement programs are winning support from members of both parties. President Barack Obama used this month’s State of Union address to call such legislation one area where lawmakers “might surprise the cynics” and get something done this year.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., whose state has one of the nation’s highest death rates from drug overdoses, said GOP senators discussed the issue at their closed-door lunch Wednesday and said he hoped the Senate could approve legislation by the end of this year.

    “We’re trying to craft something that we think makes the difference,” McConnell told reporters.

    Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the problem “a scourge” Wednesday and said the target to pass legislation shouldn’t be year’s end but “as soon as possible.”

    But that’s not to say the effort faces smooth sailing in Congress or isn’t colored by politics. Some Republicans prefer a greater emphasis on law enforcement attempts to stop heroin from entering the U.S. from Mexico, and there are concerns about the measure’s cost. And on the campaign trail, some Senate Republicans seeking re-election this November are already being attacked over the issue by Democrats trying to oust them.

    “It’s an effort every single state and every senator should have a strong interest in,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a leading co-sponsor of the legislation, said in an interview this week.

    The drive comes with U.S. drug overdose deaths more than double since 2000, with a record 47,000 dying in 2014, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than the number of Americans who die annually in auto accidents or from gunshot wounds. Six in 10 of those deaths involved opioids, which include prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone and oxycodone, and heroin.

    Opioid abuse is “the No. 1 drug threat facing our country,” Louis J. Milione, a top official at the Drug Enforcement Administration, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday at a hearing on legislation sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Portman and — so far — 20 others.

    The bill doesn’t have an official price tag yet and leaves final decisions on how to pay for it until later.

    Portman and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., whose states have major drug abuse problems, each testified in support of the bill at Wednesday’s Judiciary panel hearing and have made the issue a top priority.

    With both facing competitive re-election contests this fall, the issue lets each senator attract attention to a high-profile local concern. That could help them if the GOP presidential nomination goes to billionaire celebrity Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose hard-core views on immigration and other national topics could alienate moderates in Portman’s and Ayotte’s closely divided states.

    Democrats are accusing GOP Senate supporters who are seeking re-election this year of duplicity on the issue. They say that while Portman touts his support for efforts to battle opioid abuse, he has voted against legislation addressing the problem like last December’s massive government-wide spending bill, which provided millions of dollars for anti-drug efforts.

    Ohio Democratic Senate candidate Ted Strickland, the state’s former governor, said that while Portman issued press releases lauding that spending bill’s money for combating drug abuse, the Republican ended up voting against the overall bill.

    “It’s hypocritical of him,” Strickland said in an interview.

    Portman said he opposed the legislation because of other provisions stuffed into the 2,000-page measure, including billions of dollars in budget gimmicks.
    Democrats are also using the issue to attack other Republicans running for re-election in states where drug addiction is a major concern. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party accused Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., on Wednesday of being “an ideological hard-liner” who portrays himself as backing anti-drug efforts but opposing the December spending bill and a Republican-written budget that could have cut substance abuse programs.

    Toomey aides said the lawmaker has backed several anti-drug measures, including one bill he wrote aimed at preventing painkillers from being diverted to people for whom they were not prescribed.

    “It’s disappointing that the Pennsylvania Democratic Party is attempting to politicize such an important public health crisis,” said Toomey campaign spokesman Steve Kelly.

    In one sign of partisan finger-pointing, Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Mexican drug cartels are expanding in the U.S. “because the Obama administration hasn’t secured the border.” Grassley also said the administration is “sending mixed signals to young people,” citing the president’s 2014 remark that he considers marijuana smoking “a bad habit.”

    By Allan Fram - Associated Press via PBS Newshour/Jan. 27, 2016
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    What We Learned and Hope to do About Opiate/Opioid Addiction

    [IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=48266&stc=1&d=1453934571[/IMGR]The growing problem of heroin and opioid addiction is attracting some bipartisan attention on Capitol Hill. A closer look at prospects for action:
    • - Senate and House bills establishing grants to combat drug abuse, improve treatment and bolster law enforcement programs are winning support from members of both parties.

    • -President Barack Obama has identified such legislation as one area where lawmakers "might surprise the cynics" and get something done in an election year.

    • -There are still political hurdles. Some Republicans prefer greater emphasis on law enforcement attempts to stop heroin from entering the U.S. from Mexico, and there are concerns about the measure's cost.

    • -Some Senate Republicans seeking re-election this November are facing criticism on the issue from Democrats trying to oust them.

    • -U.S. drug overdose deaths have more than doubled since 2000, with a record 47,000 deaths in 2014.

    • -Six in 10 of those deaths involved opioids, which include prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone and oxycodone, and heroin.

    AP/Jan. 27, 2016
    Newshawk Crew
  2. tatittle
    Unfortunately the majority of stuff they spend money on is counter-productive in terms of i9mproving the lives of addicts IME. Arresting folks and forcing them into corrupt treatment centers via drug courts is not my idea of significant improvement. All this stuff is founded in coercive means and documenting people as addicts for life. Even grants for treatment are sometimes selectively shared both at grass roots and higher levels; for example the "charity care" (free) detox at a hospital in my area was totally prejudiced in who they allowed in. Certain type people would be rushed in ASAP, and others would be forced to call back every morning to maintain their position on the "waiting list". This was not based on how much one used etc. either, and despite it sounding like typical addict paranoia it was/is a very real problem that was definitely happening, everybody knew about it. The latter folks might never have been accepted in sans them throwing an absolute fit over be on the waiting list for 3 weeks and counting...maybe the threat of exposing the informal policy tipped the scale. And people definitely got discouraged and gave up before they made it in, while other folks reported being accepted the same day or with 18 hour wait etc. Like all of these programs that are exempt from market forces and individual choice/voluntary association, its just all prone to abuse and corruption bc of the ability to manipulate so much merely by saying/reporting the right things. And there is a TON of money at stake, albeit indirectly and not spent by choice/freely by the "consumers" of the services. Among other things, market forces act as a safety net that prevent some abuses bc that activity would bankrupt or send people elsewhere. At least the private marketplace is basically ruled by money alone hence utterly predictable....and people can choose who and where and when and how long to patronize the service. The whole industry reeks of politics and power, and definitely not only at the highest escelons of legislative bodies. Gov't activity is by definition a system of a small group of people picking winners and losers; it is impossible to rid these endeavors of ulterior motives, manipulation, corruption, and lobbying. the bigger and more comprehensive the endeavors, the more susceptible they are to these forms of "political" gamesmanship.
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    I fully agree, tattle, and do not think forcing people into half-assed, quickly thrown together drug rehabs on a national level is not a good answer myself. And I simply don't trust any conservatives with the health of drug users in general and never have. They are not the party of compassion, and have no history of having been one, so there promises fall on my deaf ears, for me personally.

    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your input.
  4. tatittle
    Well besides the fact that they passed the first Civil Rights legislation back in the 1870's, only to be recinded by incoming Dem. majority and stymied for another 100 years (Republican Ike finally was able to sign a bill). The Republican party was formed on the platform of ending slavery etc....thats why ALL the black congressmen were Republicans clear into the 1960's. And it was Nixon who signed and oversaw the institution of the majority of "Great Soc'ty"...which anyone from a big industrialized city can attest were largely dismal failures I might add.

    But I would argue leaving people to make their own decisions freely is compassionate bc people are very kind in general and often spend their money wiser than the govt uses it in re: to compassion...just look at Americans voluntary charity when disasters occur. My fear is the more govt programs (largely unsuccessful), the more likely people are to think that charity is taken care of by govt "experts". Thus they have justification, even encouragement and coercion, eg criminilization of charity (feeding the poor without "proper licenses" etc.) to point the homeless guy to the govt programs rather than buy him a sandwich and spend some time with him like he is a part of the com'ty. This centralization of charity can become a form of segregation practically speaking...and the down and out in America the biggest problem is alienation from the rest of soc'ty, moreso than starvation etc. But folks are obssesed with material incidentals and symptoms rather than the human psyche and origin/causes of problems within it. I dont buy the notion that the only (or best) way to be compassionate is through govt at all...and those that are the biggest supporters of "govt compassion" are routinely the least likely to give money to charity...this has been demonstrated time and time again in studies spanning decades. Indeed I live in one of the most Progressive towns in America, it is routinely at the top of lists "measuring" various things like interacial couples, gay friendly, etc. And what I see is people using govt programs to herd the undesirables away from their homes and public areas. They do it with the cover of compassion mind you...but calling the police (from a safe distance) to escort somebody into some govt program they have no interest in, is closer to the methods of NAZI's and Communists than traditional charity in my book. This is a far cry from inviting the hardlucker into a home or church for dinner. There are plenty of truly well meaning people in town too, that are not too afraid to help someone in need for sure, but they tend to be painfully naive about the reasons people have gotten into such dire circumstances, and their motivation to get out of them....they fall victim to the pitfall of modern liberalism: the assumption that all people are essentially the same, and/or want the same things.
    All this hardly has me firmly in the big-govt modern Republican camp...I was shocked to find people being arrested in the South for "soliciting alms"! They even use the religious terminology! Didnt Jesus encourage followers to give everything away and rely on the charity of neighbors (not the govt mind you)? And the actions he encouraged have been outlawed in the Bible Belt? Not suprisingly actually...Americas Protestantism came right out of the British Isles where greed and selfishness, under the guise of "efficiency" and "frugality", was turned from sins into virtues lol.
  5. Beenthere2Hippie
    I'm glad you brought up that most black Americans were Republicans up till the time of Martin Luther King in the 1960s, out of the habit of voting for "the grand old party" since the time of their emancipation during Lincoln's time. Many Americans don't realize that is the case (unless they're of black themselves).

    As far as government governing its drug addicted citizens, anything done by the US Government in the name of mental and/or physical health is questionable. We in the US have a long, seriously blood-stained history of taking poor care of the mentally impaired, addicted, elderly and very young for a long while.

    No, we cannot count on government fully to be responsible for us individuals. We have to be self-sufficient and self-reliant, but we're lazy, we westernly civilized folk. Having the basics in life in almost all households (a roof above, food in the belly, a job or purpose in life) gives our "civilized" lot time to ponder all sorts of things that non-westernly civilized people are way too busy directing all their human energy to acquire the said basics we all, nowadays, take for granted.

    To me, America has to keep on socializing its government to avoid a near future revolution. There is no longer a flourishing middle class in this country, which is so vital to the health of any republic or democratically based society. We have needs as a people that are just not being met by current or past government, and it is time for some brave change. Some unprecedented change.

    Until we Americans start to care about the individuals behind We The People again, we will continue to be heading down wrong and a more dangerous road, and one that in no way will be selfless enough to be trusted with our drug-addled citizens at large. Not with as government stands now.
  6. tatittle
    Actually my personal experience with black people, and frankly all people equally so, that have not attended fairly prestigious universities (com'ty college definitely not in this bracket), is that they are not aware of the racial track record of the 2 major parties historically speaking. And they definitely are not aware of the underlying principles that manifested into the policy differences. Many do not even know that slavery was an institution that existed for millenia (vs. only African/European form), actually most of it not strictly racially based. It amazes me in one sense bc the racism was so blatant and fairly universal in the offending party clear into the 1950's, a time of which their still living relatives could give 1st hand testimony. But when one considers the rural and inner city schools these folks are forced to attend (unless they pay for private school on top of the higher rent for propty taxes etc.-->school funding) I guess it isnt too suprising. When one adds in the political bias of most in education, it is easy to understand the ignorance.

    They may learn about some of the history of race relations in the US, but generally the party affiliations are downplayed if not censored outright. Because attempts to end the institutionalized prejudice were not terribly successful, the origin of these efforts is often not addressed (outside Civil War specifically), moot I guess. At best they will get a superficial and insufficient explanation that the parties "switched places" re: race, which is ludicrous. The principles that justified and rationalized the different positions are still esteemed by the respective parties, albeit their manifestation has changed drastically. The Republicans were against racism largely BECAUSE they valued individual liberty and the small gov't that facilitates that. Now people act like that principle is inherently racist! Absurd. Racism and racial theory was institutionalized and enforced by the gov't..BIG gov't that is, with virtually unlimited jurisdiction over ones personal life in the view of (then racist) Progressives/Democrats. And I mean real blatant objective instutionalized racism, not some vague deduction by an academic activist of today. Authorities, primarily in Democratically controlled jurisdictions, measured the heads of people arrested (for use in documenting physical attributes of criminals) clear into the 1950's. State run sterilization, seizure of children, enforced segregation...the list is mind boggling to people today despite it being a mere couple generations ago. All done by the govt, BIG govt, at the end of a bayonet so to speak...the same symbolic bayonet that forces/coerces people to do all sorts of craziness these days...albeit politically correct (just as those policies were PC of their day in some quarters). The National Guard was called in to desegregate the GOVT run public schools, not the private lunch counters.

    Despite it being commonplace today especially with self-righteous liberal activists, merely being against proactive interference/coercion/force by the govt in the NAME of equal rights is hardly sufficient to convict someone of racism. Especially considering the archaic nature of so many of these initiatives today, not to mention their failure of accomplishment and even paradoxical effects. As I said already, this very principle/viewpoint was an original basis for ENDING discrimination in this country.

    Strange how the disappearance of the middle class has mirrored the explosion of big govt over the last 50 years. I dont suppose paying for all that govt could have anything to do with the shrinking middle class? Nah...
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