Dear President Obama,
I want to thank you for the bold commitment you’ve made to facing addiction in America. I am grateful you have broken the silence about this epidemic in such a powerful way. The $1.1 billion increase in the 2017 budget request represents a tremendous step forward in growing public, health-centered solutions to the addiction crisis.
Addiction directly impacts over 45 million families in America, and drug overdoses have now surpassed car accidents as our nation’s leading cause of accidental death. An astonishing 90% of those in need of treatment do not receive it. Yet for all of the challenges we face regarding proper access to prevention and treatment of addiction - largely without the health system’s support - we know recovery is a reality for more than 23 million Americans. The time has come for the health care system in our country to support prevention and recovery and this life-saving proposal will bring us closer toward that ideal.
Simply put, addiction is a national health crisis, not a crime, and it deserves national attention. Preventing, much less ending, the addiction crisis is not simple, but neither is curing cancer, reducing heart disease, or managing diabetes. I will stand and support all policy leaders who are willing to boldly work to solve this crisis.
Together we can significantly shift attitudes and behaviors regarding addiction that will reduce the number of those suffering and, ultimately, reduce the number of deaths from addiction and accidental overdoses.
I look forward to working with your administration as well as Congressional leaders of both parties in order to share my experience, and support finding better solutions to solve one of the leading health care crises of our time.
Again, thank you so much for your support and leadership on this life or death issue.