Archive for category Election 2016

Election Day! (An argument for Clinton based on one issue, treatment for drug abuse)

We all know who is at the top of the ballot. But if you’re looking for information about who is running in your more local contests, visit ballotready.org. It’s a really neat website. Type in your address and see everything from state races to appellate judges. Who knew 9 people were running for Cook County Water Reclamation District Commissioner!?

Now back to the top of ballot. I early voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton weeks ago. If you haven’t voted yet, I really hope you vote for her, too. Especially if you’re my family in Wisconsin, a swing state. I could belabor every reason why I think it’s absolutely imperative to vote Democrat, but instead I’m going to focus on one issue that is important to me. Substance abuse. 

Trump alluded to his stance during the speech in which he announced his candidacy. He stated that Mexico is sending “drug dealers” to America. He expanded upon his position since then, arguing that the epidemic of fatal heroin overdoses is due to drugs poring over the southern border.

For those of you who know me, you know I know this topic. And let me state unequivocally: Trump is absolutely wrong.

Data suggests that 4 out 5 people addicted to heroin got started with prescription drugs prescribed by doctors. That means Trump is right if and only if 100% of doctors came illegally from Mexico, which we know isn’t true.

What is Hillary’s stance on drug abuse? It’s not perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot more grounded in reality.

On her campaign website, she uses the language of addiction being “a disease.” Calling drug misuse a medical disease instead of a moral failing or criminal problem is a huge step from the dark ages, but it is still not as progressive as I would like. We should drop the language of “disease” and describe problematic substance use as a challenge fueled by biological, psychological, and social factors (what mental health professionals call the bio-psycho-social approach). This is a huge topic for another day, but suffice it to say that this means drugs aren’t automatically addictive; according to research, drugs are more likely to be addictive when people are also struggling with isolation, other mental health challenges, financial deprivation, situational stressors, and/or other psycho-social issues. Therefore, it shouldn’t be called a “disease” as that’s too reductionist.

But that’s splitting hairs! And that aside, Clinton’s website mentions naloxone, the medication that REVERSES opiate overdoses. As I’ve previously written, naloxone is fucking important. The Chicago Recovery Alliance, an organization I volunteer for, saved almost 6,000 lives in 2014 thanks to Naloxone.

Did Trump mention naloxone on his website? No, he repeated his complaints about Mexico. 

Now, abstract this one problem- drug abuse- to every other issue in this campaign. Trump is uniquely uninformed, racist, and unhelpful for those of us trying to address serious, complex problems with serious, complex solutions. Clinton is far from perfect, and far ahead of Trump.

Hillary Clinton is imperfect, but leaning in the right direction. It’s not just the lesser of two evils. It’s a B+ compared to an F.

And if the emails or Benghazi are still bothering you, just forget it. These pale in comparison to someone who won’t release his tax returns, is on trial for fraud, and has been involved in nearly 3,500 lawsuits. 

 

I hope everyone puts country over party (or allegiance to Bernie) and votes for Hillary Clinton. Whatever the outcome, we have a lot of rebuilding to do.

 

 

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