Opinion

Antidote to hopelessness

A Gazette editorial from the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — President Obama came to Charleston on Wednesday to discuss skyrocketing rates of opioid addiction, and the testimony from parents struggling to help their children heal was heartbreaking. But the moral for the day is that problems have solutions, and treatment does work.

“This is an illness, and we have to treat it as such,” President Obama said to loud applause in a warm, packed room at the East End Community Resource Center.

He announced specific efforts to help:

• More training for federal health professionals on how to safely prescribe these powerful, extremely addictive drugs, something West Virginia already does.

• A review of federal health insurance plans to find and (and hopefully remove) any barriers to getting addiction treatment.

These are constructive steps.

Michael Botticelli, the White House director of national drug policy, a recovering addict himself, said he hopes the federal government can be a model for others.

That is leadership.

Every insurance plan, public and private, should do a similar analysis to identify barriers to treatment..

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