New approaches to solving the opioid crisis

Over the past few years, at a rapid pace, we’ve seen the opioid problem in America go from a crisis in underserved communities, immune from folks in the suburbs, to a full scale public health crisis, according to Health and Human Services.

Op-Ed: New Approaches to Solving Opioid Crisis

Published in: The High Point Enterprise

By Congressman Ted Budd

Over the past few years, at a rapid pace, we’ve seen the opioid problem in America go from a crisis in underserved communities, immune from folks in the suburbs, to a full scale public health crisis, according to Health and Human Services.

The ‘National Institute on Drug Abuse’ found that we lose about 115 our people every single day to the opioid crisis. This is a national crisis and inaction won’t change a single thing.

I’ve met with a number of people in our area who told me that we need to think about more than just the prevention and treatment stage of the opioid crisis. And they’re exactly right.

When I hear people tell me this, it reminds me of a conversation I had recently with David Kessler who lives in Davie County and started an organization called GRIP It in Mocksville. Group classes, one on one coaching, and assistance with detox programs are just three of the things this group offers. David has found evidence of a ‘cultural method’ that works and it shows us that there are so many different things we could be trying.

This takes me to the bill that I cosponsored a few weeks back and was recently moved through the House Financial Services Committee, the THRIVE Act, which is part and parcel of this approach. The legislation, if eventually signed into law, would expand housing options for individuals who are transitioning out of addiction treatment and require continued support. This is exactly the kind of policy that we need to be considering. Housing is part of a foundation that helps former addicts get off the streets and in a place where they can rise above poverty and addiction.

Besides the policy aspect of this bill there’s a larger issue worth pointing out here. There has always been, and still is, a stigma around drug addiction. If we want to make real progress on battling this opioid epidemic, we need to change the way we look at those who are suffering. Rather than seeing them as liabilities, we need to see them as assets.

The THRIVE Act, by helping people transition from recovery to a home, will do just that. And when they have a home, they’ll be more likely to get a job and get back to being a contributing member of society.

Bold ideas are needed in the public space, and there’s no doubt that the THRIVE Act bill falls into this category. This, along with ideas coming from folks like David Kessler and GRIP It, are how we can change our community for the positive.

I think Ronald Reagan said it best when he said, “I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life.” The Gipper sums it up better than most.

Need help, resources, or additional information on our country’s opioid crisis? Call the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 or my office at 336-998-1313.

Ted Budd is a Member of Congress from North Carolina’s 13th District.

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.