Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announced a $10 billion plan to “combat America’s deadly epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction” on Wednesday.
The plan looks to boost treatment and recovery programs, ensure that first responders have drugs needed to stop opioid overdoses from becoming fatal and urges states to focus more on treatment than incarceration.
“It’s time we recognize that there are gaps in our health care system that allow too many to go without care — and invest in treatment,” Clinton wrote in an oped about the plan. “It’s time we recognize that our state and federal prisons, where 65 percent of inmates meet medical criteria for substance use disorders, are no substitute for proper treatment — and reform our criminal justice system.”
The bulk of Clinton’s plan will focus on $7.5 billion in new federal-state partnerships to boost local treatment programs. According to the plan, if a state proposes “a comprehensive plan” for dealing with addiction, that state can receive $4 of federal support for every $1 they put up.
Clinton’s plan would also direct state Attorneys General to prioritize “treatment over incarceration for nonviolent and low-level federal drug offenders.” Clinton’s campaign argues that the savings to the criminal justice system would be used – in part – to pay for the plan.
Substance abuse has been an unexpected focus to Clinton’s presidential campaign. The Democratic front-runner regularly tells audiences that she didn’t understand the problem until her first trip to New Hampshire in May, where people repeatedly asked her how she would address drug treatment.
The debate over drug treatment is not happening solely on the Democratic side of 2016, however. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been outspoken on drug treatment and released a new New Hampshire-focused video Wednesday about the issue.