Will Drug Abuse Emerge As Sleeper Issue In Presidential Campaign?


Drug abuse could be a sleeper issue in next year’s presidential campaign, says the Boston Globe. There is a drumbeat growing in both parties that could move the highly personal, painful matter of heroin and opioid drug addiction, which has metastasized into an epidemic, higher on the national agenda than at any time since the rampant crack crisis more than two decades ago. This month in New Hampshire, Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, said he would prioritize drug addiction as one of the “five or six” chief issues of his potential presidential bid. On Monday in Iowa, Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed drug abuse. Calling it a “below the surface” issue, Clinton said she was “now convinced” that she needed to talk about it on the trail.

A Clinton campaign aide told the Globe that hearing about meth in Iowa and heroin in New Hampshire had prompted Clinton to ask her policy team to begin working on what she has previously called a “quiet epidemic.” In Durham, N.H., last week, the Democratic former governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley, said his state had seen more drug overdose fatalities than those from traffic deaths and homicides combined. “What would we do if these individuals were suffering from Ebola?” O'Malley asked reporters. In Massachusetts, both Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey placed it front and center early in their terms, Healey calling it her “first major initiative.” Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, whose longtime activism in the recovery community helped win his election, made a legislative career of pushing for increased spending on recovery services.

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