Tom advocates a treatment based response to the Opioid crisis in contrast to our current punitive and counterproductive law enforcement approach.
Pharmaceutical companies have long aggressively marketed opioids and lobbied against their regulation. At the same time, they themselves have become addicted to the profits they are raking in from the explosion of over-prescribing and black-marketeering of these drugs. Everyday Texans are given opioids for pain, and then often become addicted through no fault of their own. Pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable for their role in the havoc they have caused. The long standing so called “war on drugs” has been a dismal failure, criminalizing what should be treated as a public health issue. By redirecting our efforts to emphasize harm reduction we will go a long way toward fixing the scourge of overdose deaths. We can do this through a regulated drug market, decriminalization of minor drug offenses, and increasing funding for treatment and maintenance centers. Texans affected by opioid addiction don’t need further stigmatization, punishment and jail time. They need help, hope and a realistic plan of action.