The Daily Mail reported that the United Nations declared fentanyl one the most dangerous drugs on the planet.
Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and is one of the opioids that is responsible for the current overdose crisis in the United States. The UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to “schedule” two fentanyl precursors and a fentanyl-like substance which should help keep the deadly opioid from the streets.
“Roughly 20,000 US overdose deaths in 2015 involved heroin or synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the CDC.”
But in the era of the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), those who are at risk for a fentanyl overdose will be overlooked. The Patients’ Choice Act (a.k.a. Trumpcare) was proposed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and may not have the support to repeal ACA protections. However, the fact that Trumpcare overlooks addictions and fentanyl overdose risks is alarming.
Taking away health care from addicts would only make the current drug crisis much worse. And Trump knows this. Here are a few reactions and analysis on Trumpcare’s coverage of fentanyl and other opioid addictions:
ThinkProgress declared that: “Trumpcare would result in millions more people going uninsured, but it would be particularly harmful for people who have substance abuse problems and depend on Medicaid expansion for treatment.”
The Los Angeles Times reporter Doyle McManus explains how fentanyl deaths impacted his state.
“Most of those deaths were from opioids – prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic drug. In Maryland, where I live, opioid deaths jumped 62% in the first three quarters of 2016; Gov. Larry Hogan, a moderate Republican, declared a state of emergency and asked the federal government for help.
“Not only does the bill offer no solutions for the drug crisis; it would make the problem worse by making dramatic cuts in Medicaid, the healthcare program that covers low-income people.”
As fentanyl’s danger can no longer be denied, PBS shared 12 states that had more opioid prescriptions than people 2012:
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
These states are strong Trump territory and the President does understand that addicts need help. As reported by Mic in the article The US opioid crisis is real and deadly. Trumpcare could make it even worse, President Trump stated the following.
“You cannot let people die on the street, OK? The problem is that everybody thinks that you people, as Republicans, hate the concept of taking care of people that are really, really sick and are gonna die. We gotta take care of people that can’t take care of themselves.”
The definition of many addicts includes people that are very sick and are going to die if their addiction is not treated. If Trump believes “we cannot let people die on the street” than any health care plan must have provisions that tackle addiction.
Many addicts go years without issues, but eventually, they will be faced with a crisis that forces them to address the behavior. According to Promises Treatment Center,“Addicts can go years and even decades without being confronted, although as time goes on, most will incur some consequences: an angry spouse, maybe a failed marriage blamed on ‘other problems,’ a DUI, or some other indication that they should address their behavior. Often, until some major event occurs related to their addiction, they and those around them do not address the behavior.”
At that point, unless the addict or the addicts family can pay out-of-pocket for treatment, the addict must rely on options provided by health care coverage by plans like the ACA. But there’s more to opioid recovery than Obamacare or Trumpcare. There is a real impact to society as addicts get clean. They join the workforce, pay taxes, and take care of their own children (avoiding social services and foster care). They become productive members of society and get off entitlement programs. Isn’t that what Republicans want?
Considering all the facts, including how deadly fentanyl is and the current opioid epidemic, Trump’s replacement plan must include addiction coverage. Because if Trump forgets to “take care of people that can’t take care of themselves,” we really will have people dying in the streets.
[Featured Image by Marjan_Apostolovic /iStock]