Opioid Epidemic

Common Sense, Common Decency, Rural Values

My work in the justice system as an attorney, as well as my mother’s work as a substance abuse counselor in Houston and Henry Counties, has made me strongly aware of the opioid crisis in our area. From 2006 to 2014, the number of drug overdose deaths in Alabama, including opioid deaths climbed 82 percent. Opioid drug overdoses greatly outpaced other drug overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control describes opioids as a class of drugs used to reduce pain. Much of Alabama’s problem comes not from illegal substances, such as heroin but from addiction to prescription painkillers. To alleviate this crisis, I will support:

  • Education and prevention programs for the public and our youth on the dangers of opioid abuse. Health education classes in our public schools should have units regarding the specific dangers connected with misuse of prescription drugs.
  • Cracking down on illegal drug dealers and unscrupulous over-prescribers. And all prescribers should be required to subscribe to and use the Alabama Prescription Drug Monitoring Program prior to issuing a prescription for an opioid. Doctors having access to and using this information is vital, as it can invite conversations with addicts who may be “doctor shopping.”  
  • Allowing for a petition for mental health commitment to be signed due solely to substance abuse and addiction. Alabama is one of only 12 states that does not allow this; families and friends of those suffering from opioid addiction should be empowered to help them in every way possible.
  • Increased funding for expansion of recovery and treatment opportunities for those suffering from addiction. We must make sure that our criminal justice system is not creating a cycle of debt and issues that force addicts to reoffend.