Saturday, August 2, 2008


i ) Provide drug treatment upon request and a variety of treatment options.
With so much talk by Congress and the White House about the damage that drugs cause our society, one would think our drug-treatment facilities were wide-open, and eagerly awaiting patients who have finally heeded the calls of our government to break their addiction. Not so. An addict can wait many months between a request for treatment and the availability of a treatment slot. A policy that chooses to provide prison cells rather than treatment beds makes a mockery of its claims to have a strategy to decrease drug use in America. To increase to the greatest extent possible the availability and quality of treatment services so that treatment on request may be provided to all individuals desiring to rid themselves of their substance abuse problem.

ii ) Enact legislation that provides full continuum insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment.
If our society is truly serious about reducing drug use, then we must make every effort to move those people who wish to be treated for drug addiction into treatment facilities. One of the most effective means to do so is to provide “full continuum” insurance for substance abuse. As stated in a report commissioned by the Connecticut State Legislature, this would “include screening, assessment, intervention, detoxification, short-term and long-term inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient and intensive outpatient services, family treatment, and methadone maintenance treatment.” This was also the goal of legislation introduced in the 105th Congress. By providing addiction treatment through medical insurance, we reduce the need for people to rely on public funding and facilities to treat substance abuse problems.

iii ) Reduce children's exposure to cigarette and alcohol advertising.
One of the main goals of advertising is to create demand for a product, industry or idea. As two of the largest sources of illness and death in America, it is not beneficial to glamorize or promote cigarettes and alcohol to young children. An effective drug control strategy would examine ways to reduce children's exposure to such marketing, perhaps by limiting alcohol ads to television programs which are rated for adult content. The marketing of addictive products to children must be addressed, while balancing the commercial speech rights of legal businesses to market their products or educate the public on policy issues related to their industry.

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