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Where Do The Major Party Candidates Stand On Addiction Treatment?

October 14, 2016

Long before I entered the world of addiction treatment, I received my bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies from UNC. I have always been interested in political discourse, social and political advocacy, and of course the intersection of those with addiction treatment, another passion of mine.

I’d like to start out by saying that I am not officially endorsing any political candidate in the name of Chatham Recovery or Morse Clinics. I also certainly don’t advocate that anyone be a one issue voter, but because I can assume that addiction treatment is important to you if you have visited this website, I’d like to present what I discovered when I researched where both of the major party candidates stand on addiction treatment.

I started my research on this topic at the source, by visiting the official websites of both candidates to view their official platforms. Both presidential candidates have declared addiction to be a major problem in America in speeches along the campaign trail, but I was interested in finding a definitive statement to refer to when making a decision. I found that Hillary Clinton’s website was the only one that had an official position regarding addiction treatment.


To summarize her position, Clinton is proposing a 5 part “initiative to combat America’s deadly epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction”

1. Prevention: Clinton’s plans include educating youth, as well as parents, teachers, coaches, etc. about the dangers of addiction, and providing support for the development of local programs to meet individual community needs.
2. Treatment and Recovery: Clinton’s plans are designed with the understanding in mind that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and the goal of making sure everybody can get the continuing support they need by expanding services, increasing the pipeline of trained providers, mobilizing peer recovery coaches, and fully enforcing our mental health and addiction parity laws so that insurance practices are not a barrier to treatment.
3. First Responders: Clinton’s plans are to ensure that all first responders have access to Naloxone, a life saving overdose reversal medication.
4. Prescribers: Clinton wants to ensure that prescribers have the information and training they need to treat patients with chronic pain appropriately, and to identify patients who may be at risk of, or already experiencing, addiction.
5. Criminal Justice Reform: Clinton wants to prioritize treatment over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenses, as well as promote collaboration between public health and criminal justice systems before, during, and after a person is released from prison to ensure continuity of care for those who suffer from addiction.


While he does not have an official position listed on the website for addiction treatment, I was able to find the following quote at the end of his broader position statement on healthcare reform. While it doesn’t specifically address addiction, I am happy to see at least the mentioning of mental health, even in the absence of specific policies:

“Finally, we need to reform our mental health programs and institutions in this country. Families, without the ability to get the information needed to help those who are ailing, are too often not given the tools to help their loved ones. There are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan support”

Looking into his position further by researching his speeches, I was able to find that Trump's statements on the drug crisis specifically focus on stopping the flow of drugs into the United States only. He's said the wall he plans to build on the country's southern border, a key piece of his immigration plan, will keep drugs out.

Once again, I would like to highlight that I am not officially endorsing either candidate on behalf of Chatham Recovery or Morse Clinics. I also don’t advocate that any citizen vote only based on a single issue. I simply want to share the information that I discovered when I researched both candidates’ positions on addiction treatment.

Finally, the last day to register to vote in NC is today. Visit to find out more information and to register. Your vote counts!

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