Hillary Clinton to 'Get Serious' About Heroin Epidemic, Mental Health

By Brent McCluskey 05/20/15

In response to voter questions on the campaign trail, the presidential hopeful wants to end the stigma against addiction.

Hillary Clinton
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been making the rounds for the upcoming election and recently concentrated her efforts on the nation’s heroin epidemic and mental health crisis.

In Iowa on Monday, Clinton told supporters she didn’t originally intend to focus her campaign on drugs and mental health, but after being repeatedly asked about the issues, she realized that’s exactly what she needed to do.

“When I started running, when I started thinking about this campaign, I did not believe I would be standing in your living room talking about the drug abuse problem, the mental health problem, and the suicide problem,” Clinton said at the home of one of the first gay couples to be wed in the state. “But I’m now convinced I have to talk about it. I have to do everything I can in this campaign to raise it, to end the stigma against talking about it.”

Clinton said she recognized that the current drug problem is a “hidden epidemic,” adding that its visibility has declined over the years because of the decrease in gangs and gang violence.

“This is a quiet epidemic and it is striking in small towns and rural areas as much as any big city,” Clinton said. “I think a lot of people are thinking, well, that’s somebody else’s problem, that’s not my problem. And indeed, it is all of our problem and we don’t have enough resources, so that if somebody decides that they wanted to get help, where do you send them to? What kind of opportunities do they have for treatment? And I am convinced that the mental health Issues—because I consider substance abuse part of the mental health issues—is going to be a big part of my campaign, because increasingly it’s a big issue that people raise with me.”

Clinton noted that the deinstitutionalization of mental health facilities was “supposed to be followed by the creation of community-based treatment centers.” But that hasn’t happened and “our prisons and our jails are now our mental health institutions.”

Clinton said drug abuse and addiction are part of the mental health problem, and based on her recent speech, it sounds like she’s prepared to something about it.

“We have to do more and get serious about treatment,” Clinton said.

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.