The GOP Health Plan Would Make the Opioid Crisis Even Worse

drug-overdose-opioids

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“We will give people struggling with addiction access to the help they need,” Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail in 2016.

We’re in the midst of the worst opioid epidemic our country has seen. More people died last year from opioid overdoses than ever before — 33,000. Opioid abuse now kills more people nationwide than car accidents or gun deaths.

The problem runs most rampant in America’s heartland — in states like Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Ohio alone, which gave key electoral votes to Trump, has three of the top 10 cities with the worst overdose rates in the country, with Dayton coming in at number one.

So why is Trump supporting a health care bill that experts have said will only make our opioid problem worse?

Specifically, the GOP’s Obamacare replacement would eliminate the law’s requirement that Medicaid cover basic mental health and addiction services. This expansion currently covers half the cost of Ohio’s medication-assisted addiction treatment. All in all, 1.3 million Americans get treatment under it.

Studies have shown that a major cause of the opioid problem is patients becoming addicted to the painkillers their doctors prescribe. Even Trump seems to understand this.

“We prescribe opioids like Oxycontin freely,” Trump said in October 2016. “But when patients become addicted to those drugs, we stop doctors from giving patients the treatments they medically need.”

And yet, that’s exactly the problem the new GOP health care bill perpetuates.

The bill would allow insurance companies to turn away drug users, causing patients to lose affordable access to lifesaving treatments like Suboxone, Emily Kaltenbach of the Drug Policy Alliance told Vice.

The new health care plan would also make doctors more likely to prescribe opioids for chronic pain, Northeastern University law and health professor Leo Beletsky says, because their patients won’t be insured for alternative treatment options like physical therapy.

Republican senators from Ohio, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Colorado recently released a statement saying they wouldn’t support any “poorly implemented or poorly timed” change in “access to life-saving health care services.” But Trump is pushing for it anyway.

On the campaign trail, Trump also promised his rural and Appalachian supporters that he would fight for harsher sentencing for drug dealers. But piles of evidence prove that harsher punishment doesn’t stop the flow of drugs into these vulnerable communities. In fact, it only makes the drug trade more lucrative.

When all’s said and done, the health care policy that Trump supports could increase the opioid treatment gap — those who can’t get substance abuse treatment because they can’t afford it or the care just isn’t available — by 50 percent, according to a Harvard Medical School and NYU report.

That would bring the number of people who remain untreated for addiction up to 640,000.

Trump promised his voters that he would end the opioid epidemic and “make America safe again.” But it’s those same communities in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia that trusted the president to make good on those promises who stand to lose the most.

Domenica Ghanem is the media manager at the Institute for Policy Studies.

|||||||http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IPS/latest/~3/AVQ4MmL3x0s/

Trump’s Border Wall Won’t Solve Our Heroin Crisis

The opioid prescription problem in the U.S. is perpetuated by drug companies, Sanho Tree tells CCTV.

“Airwaves are flooded with prescription drug ads. There’s a pill for every problem,” Tree said.

People begin to abuse prescription drugs and then look for a cheaper version on the black market, Tree said. Then the DEA cracks down on heroin, so drug dealers find ways to stretch their profit, namely by mixing heroin with much more potent drugs.

“This is a very predictable trajectory,” Tree said. “Prohibition breeds substitutes that are often more dangerous, more problematic, more difficult to stop.”

And of course, the more we escalate the war on drugs, the more valuable drugs become to produce and smuggle, Tree said.

Building a bigger wall between the U.S. and Mexico, as Trump’s suggested, only incentivizes drug traffickers to find more innovative ways to get across the border.

Setting up an ‘x’ prize to find creative ways to cross U.S. borders is, from a national security standpoint, “not an incentive we want to create,” Tree said.

Instead, Tree said we should follow the Portugal model, which has decriminalized possession of drugs and divested from law enforcement to invest in treatment programs.

Watch the full interview here.

The post Trump’s Border Wall Won’t Solve Our Heroin Crisis appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Sanho Tree directs the Drug Policy project for the Institute for Policy Studies.

|||||||http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IPS/latest/~3/kRbyg6E2gZE/

Escalation in Mosul Will Cause a Massive Refugee Crisis that Dwarfs the Existing One

“What we’re going to see is a massive level of new refugee crisis that’s going to dwarf the existing refugee crisis,” Phyllis Bennis told the Real News Network after the U.S. announced they would send 560 more troops to Iraq for a push against ISIS in Mosul.

Bennis said while ISIS was defeated in Fallujah a few weeks ago, the city was destroyed, causing people to flee in the tens of thousands. She said there had been no preparation made to take care of those people — “No camps, no water, no food, no medical care… and that’s what’s going to happen in Mosul.”

There has also been no consultation with the people living in Mosul, Bennis said, even though a recent poll showed 76 percent of the population of that city said they didn’t want to be liberated by the Shia militias that fight alongside the Iraqi government. Bennis said Iraqis in Mosul fear those militias because of allegations from other cities that they’ve carried out human rights violations, such as sectarian-based torture, and because of the massive destruction of the city that will follow.

“Yes, it’s good to get ISIS out of control of Iraq’s second-largest city. It’s also true that the process of getting rid of ISIS  is goign to exact an enormous price, not only for the fighters, but especially for the people living under that fight,”  Bennis said. Desert temperatures routinely rise to 110 degrees, Bennis said, “And there’s not water available. There’s not shelter available. There’s not electricity available. This is going to be a humanitarian disaster.”

Bennis said people like U.S. Secretary of Defense Carter need to be asked what preparations they are making for these people. This has been presented as an option of either going to war, or doing nothing, Bennis said. “That’s never the only choice.”

We need to be talking about coalitions for new diplomacy in Syria, Iraq, and Iran; we need to be talking about arms embargoes,” Bennis said.

The post Escalation in Mosul Will Cause a Massive Refugee Crisis that Dwarfs the Existing One appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

|||||||http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IPS/latest/~3/vD0-1vpzURE/

Who is responsible for the crisis in Syria and Iraq?

Via Edward Briody: The U.S. has involved itself endlessly in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries. Major interests include oil, military bases, sale of weapons, propping up friendly Governments, and limiting Russian influence. But just as the Russians provoked a powerful revolt in Afghanistan, the U.S. provoked massive ‘unintended consequences’. U.S. prisons in Iraq became training camps of resistance to U.S. interests, most notably ISIS. Some in Congress still want a war on Iran over a nuclear weapons program it has never had while lavishly supporting Israel’s nuclear arsenal. People in the Middle East can see the contradiction as have people elsewhere.

Watch Phyllis Bennis discuss ISIS, Syria, refugees, and U.S. foreign policy below:

The post Who is responsible for the crisis in Syria and Iraq? appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

|||||||http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IPS/latest/~3/-ptfg9fNvxE/

Tsipras insists he can lead Greece out of crisis by 2019 – U.S. News & World Report


U.S. News & World Report
Tsipras insists he can lead Greece out of crisis by 2019
U.S. News & World Report
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, and Greece's Deputy Prime Minster Yannis Dragasakis look at their watches during a parliamentary session before the confidence vote, in Athens, on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris).
Greece's New Syriza-Led Government Wins Parliamentary Vote of ConfidenceWall Street Journal
Tsipras government wins key parliament vote in GreeceYahoo News
Greece: Premier Alex Tsipras Wins Confidence VoteNew York Times

all 238 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNG-mxF587g69DPVOnlK-pubAW8r_g&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778965912708&ei=vWEWVujZOISXhAH94qOQAw&url=http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/10/07/tsipras-insists-he-can-lead-greece-out-of-crisis-by-2019

Greece’s Democratic Crisis and Fundamental Need for Change – Huffington Post


U.S. News & World Report
Greece's Democratic Crisis and Fundamental Need for Change
Huffington Post
As Alexis Tsipras embarks on his second mandate as prime minister, deep uncertainty still dominates the Hellenic landscape. Serious questions persist about Tsipras' ability to deliver what is required to keep Greece in the eurozone and ensure its long
Tsipras pledges to lead Greece out of crisis by 2019U.S. News & World Report
Greece's Tsipras says launching debt relief talks, boosting banks his urgent Fox News
Greece's Tsipras says hard work awaits on reforms, debt reliefReuters UK
Whitehouse.gov (press release)
all 327 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNEhdZIjuKeWlD6sxuVyEVnbSPNAvQ&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778958033022&ei=u2QGVrDdL6iFwwH204j4Cw&url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marco-vicenzino/greeces-democratic-crisis_b_8191850.html

Greece crisis: Cancer patients suffer as health system fails – BBC News


BBC News
Greece crisis: Cancer patients suffer as health system fails
BBC News
The 35-year-old, who founded an NGO that helps poor and homeless people in Thessaloniki, says her experiences suggest Greece's health system is increasing comparable to those she witnessed while working in the developing world – rather than that of an …

and more »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNG_mYU6YvDidqqK27mFNCFvMfzopw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778944785995&ei=AGrsVZnBO8WghQGBqIigDg&url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34131863

Harvesting Profits: The Roots of Our Food Crisis – Progressive.org

Harvesting Profits: The Roots of Our Food Crisis
Progressive.org
Every day in America, as we consume whatever food we can access and afford, the system that supplies our sustenance is engaged in its own form of consumption. It feasts on human toil, commodified animals, natural resources, and our own bodies. Food …

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFgk6mW3Upd14eHcjfSW9zagjmsvg&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=YHzrVYCvGsSvhQGk9YL4Dg&url=http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/08/188270/harvesting-profits-roots-our-food-crisis

40 migrants die off Italy – ‘worst crisis since WW2′ – The Local.it


The Local.it
40 migrants die off Italy – 'worst crisis since WW2'
The Local.it
An Italian navy helicopter spotted the boat, which was "overcrowded and starting to sink", about 21 miles off the Libyan coast, said a reporter with Italy RaiNews television at the rescue operation headquarters. An Italian navy vessel was sent to its
Italy Finds Dozens Of Migrants Dead In Hold During Ship RescueHuffington Post
At least 40 migrants die in Mediterranean: Italy navyReuters
Italy: At least 40 migrants found dead at sea, 320 others rescued from boat Minneapolis Star Tribune
Business Insider
all 658 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFFe-7Wkjl4zUC7mWnRF4tbXW7hhA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778925606875&ei=L27SVdqqBOPswAGZqKKYBw&url=http://www.thelocal.it/20150815/at-least-40-migrants-suffocated-in-hold-of-boat-off-italy

40 migrants die off Italy as EU faces ‘worst crisis since WWII’ – Yahoo News


Yahoo News
40 migrants die off Italy as EU faces 'worst crisis since WWII'
Yahoo News
Rome (AFP) – At least 40 migrants died in the hold of a boat off Italy as the EU struggled to cope with "the worst refugee crisis since World War II", with thousands making dangerous crossings to reach Italy and Greece.
Italy navy finds 40 migrants dead in boat9news.com.au
Italy: At least 40 migrants die at sea visit|article-6446654|News-nav-hcat|3Albany Times Union
Italy Finds Dozens Of Migrants Dead In Hold During Ship RescueHuffington Post
Reuters
all 493 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHmPMUY-BGCpWC-VhXXkOR7a54HFQ&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778925606875&ei=g27QVanvHK6qwQGo1aXYBQ&url=http://news.yahoo.com/least-40-migrants-dead-mediterranean-sinking-102241286.html