It is estimated that opiate addiction claims nearly 47,000 American lives annually with the state of New Jersey accounting for the greater proportions of these fatalities. As a result, the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie has been spearheading a campaign against drugs by employing a combination of both stringent and seemingly subtle approaches that have earned him a recent appointment to chair a new drug commission under the Trump administration. According to Lurie (2007), the governor assented to a bill that restricted the access to painkiller drugs for acute pain such as the discomfort that occurs after surgery by reducing the prescription to just five days. This was deemed as an aggressive approach to curtail the proliferation of black market for opioids as addiction to prescription drugs may occur within days. Moreover, he expanded the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act which allowed approximately 500,000 low-income residents to gain access to mental health treatment services and drug addiction centers (Scott, 2017). The underlying reason for expansion was correlated to the prevalence of the opioid crisis. Private health insurance firms were also directed to provide at least six months of addiction treatment for both in-patient and outpatient treatment frameworks without demanding for further authorization. Perhaps the most effective stratagem was the alteration to the approach of the criminal justice system towards addiction. Governor Christie was a strong advocate for the use of drug courts where non-violent offenders were provided with the lifeline of being booked into a rehabilitation center rather than spending time behind bars (Jan, 2010). In addition, businesses were encouraged to hire recovering addicts so that they may gain a source livelihood by providing job training opportunities which have proven to make the difference between recoveries and relapse (Witkiewitz & Marlatt, 2011). On the other hand, criminal penalties have been augmented especially for the producers and distributors of potent opioids such as fentanyl.
The future of the opiate crisis has recently been put in jeopardy following a proposal of budget cuts where funding will be reduced from $388 million to merely $24 million (Diamond, 2017). Trumps administration claims that this framework presents a broader strategy aimed at streamlining financing where more can be done while spending less of taxpayers money. Nonetheless, detractors argue that this would significantly dent the efforts geared towards diminishing drug addiction in America as previous studies have shown that it is indeed a cost-intensive venture. Moreover, repealing the Obamacare would continue widening the health disparities between the rich and the poor, where the less fortunate will always end up as the greatest victims.
Diamond, D. (2017). Trumps new opioid strategy devastates advocates. Politico. Retrieved from: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/05/donald-trump-opioids-drug-control-funding-reaction-238047
Jan, S. A. (2010). Introduction: Landscape of opioid dependence. Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, 16(1 Supp B), 4-8.
Lurie, J. (2017). This Is Trump's Plan to Stop the Opioid Epidemic. It's...Underwhelming. Retrieved from: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/christie-drug-commission-trump
Scott, D. (2017). Chris Christie brings heartfelt approach to Trumps opioid commission, but some controversy too. Statnews. Retrieved from: https://www.statnews.com/2017/03/29/chris-christie-opioids-commission/
Witkiewitz, K. A., & Marlatt, G. A. (Eds.). (2011). Therapist's guide to evidence-based relapse prevention. Academic Press.
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