Substance abuse is now one of the leading causes of death in the United States, even more than traffic accidents. As the election of 2016 comes closer, presidential candidates are extending their campaign speeches to focus on prevention, specifically on drug abuse, according to National Public Radio.
Across partisan lines, drug policy and prevention has become a major focus on political agendas and campaigns, leading to an increased opportunity for prevention funding in the upcoming years. What is being called the “hidden epidemic” – the increase in drug abuse across the country is being highlighted and unmasked in discourses by politicians as addiction and substance abuse is becoming a dangerous problem for an increasing number of people.
At a recent campaign event, Hillary Clinton publicized the importance of drug prevention and the importance of addressing not only substance abuse but also mental health issues. She stated that spreading awareness and reducing stigma behind these issues would play an important part in her campaign efforts.
Governor Chris Christie has also discussed substance abuse on numerous occasions, including on a visit to Farnum Center for drug and alcohol abuse in Manchester, New Hampshire. Christie argues that there should be more resources allocated for reducing substance abuse and increasing funding treatment programs.
This focus on prevention and drug abuse could lead to an increase in funding for evidence-based prevention programs. These programs have been proven to lower the economic costs of welfare and social services and treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems, leading to cost-effective, long-term solutions to these serious issues. Schools, groups, and organizations implementing programs that focus on prevention, such as the Botvin Lifeskills Training (LST) program, could reap the benefits of these funding increases and spread awareness and help reduce drug abuse.