As Overdose Deaths Hit A Record High, Here’s What I Need You To Know - HuffPost
Nov 26, 2021 1 min, 22 secs
As a longtime advice columnist and author of a memoir about addiction, people often reach out.

I cannot count the number of friends I’ve lost since then to addiction, not to mention people like this young woman who reached out, who didn’t make it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics just released provisional data showing more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths from April 2020 to April 2021.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said in a recent interview that the HHS would be supporting clean needle exchange programs and the dispensation of fentanyl testing strips.

First and foremost, and I will shout this until the day I die, we need to hammer home the message that addiction is a public health issue.

Addiction is a public health issue.

What do we do with other public health issues.

This is about health care, not enabling.

We should be diverting the funds used to jail people in for-profit detention centers and instead invest in health.

What works is treating those struggling with addiction like human beings.

Connecting people to communities, providing them with health care and stable housing, that works.

What works is early intervention in the way of mental health services that are free and preventative, especially with young people.

Imagine the difference we could make by spending tax dollars to ensure young people are given the tools and help they need to thrive.

I needed mental health care.

Our drug policies have failed, and people are dying at an ever-increasing rate.

We should be concerned with treating the health of human beings, not fighting a war


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