Experts Find ‘A Tremendous Amount To Like’ In Elizabeth Warren’s Opioid Plan

Sergio FloresGetty Images

One of the hallmarks of Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign so far has been her lengthy and detailed policy proposals on key political issues. And a comprehensive plan that the senator has shared in response to the opioid addiction problem in the United States is catching the attention of experts, who like what they see, Yahoo! Finance reports.

Warren describes her approach as a comprehensive plan to stop the opioid crisis by delivering the right resources in order to treat the epidemic not as a law enforcement problem, but as a public health crisis, according to a statement that she released when unveiling the plan. She has partnered with Congressman Elijah Cummings in the effort, which is known as the CARE Act.

The act proposes $100 billion in federal funding in the next decade, with the money aligned with communities that have been hit hardest by the opioid addiction crisis. So far, drug policy experts have expressed optimism toward the plan.

“There’s a tremendous amount to like here,” says Bradley Stein, who is the director director of an opioid policy center. “The magnitude of the investment really matches the needs of the crisis. A lot of the investment prior to this everyone has recognized as being insufficient or a drop in the bucket. For a crisis of this magnitude, it’s going to take that type of investment.”

Under the plan, states, territories, and tribal governments would receive $4 billion while another $2.7 billion would go to the individual counties and cities hit hardest. More than half of funds would be directed to those places where overdose levels are the highest.

A total of $1.7 billion is earmarked for health professionals for the purpose of public health surveillance, research, and training; $1.1 billion would be for public and nonprofit entities fighting the crisis on a day-to-day basis; while another $500 million would expand access to the overdose drug naloxone, including providing it to first responders.

With such a large overall price tag, like much of Warren’s various platforms, critics have been quick to pose the question of how she proposes to pay for such an initiative. According to the plan, the approach would be paid for though a proposed “ultra-millionaire tax” on the country’s wealthiest. Approximately 75,000 families would be affected by the extra taxation.

“It’s really encouraging to see someone of her statue on the national stage in our federal government promoting life-saving methods that haven’t been promoted to this point,” said Dr. Ryan Marino, who is an emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Marino went on to highlight Warren’s “big emphasis on recovery and medicines for treating addiction, which haven’t been as well emphasized at the federal level.”