Addiction and Substance Use
Too many American families, including mine, have been touched by Substance Use Disorder and the domino effect it creates in communities. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse over 100,000 people die in the U.S. from overdoses every year. That's unconscionable and demands our collective action.
I’ve been a coach and mentor to kids facing these situations in their neighborhoods and homes. The level of pressure and challenges these young people face has to change.
As Congressman I will:
Cut the supply. We have to maximize pressure on China to curb their production of fentanyl precursors, and strengthen our local and state law enforcement officers with the technology and tools to detect and interdict fentanyl coming across the southern border.
Champion youth drug prevention. The federal government provides funding to schools for youth drug prevention programs. We need to incentivize culturally-sensitive programs in and out of schools that keep our kids active, and share data-driven best practices. I will push relevant federal agencies to ensure the funding also provides relevant training to community leaders who are with kids every day, like our coaches, teachers, counselors and clergy to increase the effectiveness of the support they provide at-risk families.
Destigmatize treatment. The homelessness and mental health crisis we see in New York City, on the Subway and parts of Long Island should motivate us to substantially increase access to diverse treatment approaches. While abstinence-based recovery models are successful for some, we also need to expand Medication-Assisted Treatment. According to the National Institute of Health these treatments make a substantial difference across the board. We should work to normalize these treatments while also ensuring our first responders have access to naloxone. Peer Recovery Specialists add another layer to addressing our current crisis but we need to expand the number of providers. These specialists don't require advanced degrees, but instead use their lived-experiences to connect with those in recovery in a meaningful and lasting way.
Incentivize recovery-ready workplaces. Employment has long been recognized as an integral part of recovery, and a tool to prevent recidivism. While companies and small businesses want to help, many organizations find themselves ill prepared to adopt supportive policies and practices. We must do a better job of training, educating and incentivizing businesses to champion their part in this fight. One tool we can use to increase recovery-ready workplaces is to incentivize this status in the federal government's grant application process.
"Individuals with Substance Use Disorder are fragile and deserve our unwavering care. We cannot continue to accept the loss of over 100,000 individuals each year to overdoses. We have the tools to make this better, but we must elect public officials who will lead with real solutions and put in the work." -- Kellen Curry