Hillary Clinton pledged to elevate the issue of substance abuse, saying she wants to hear from people on the front lines as she develops policies to help people dealing with addiction or mental illness,t he Wall Street Journal reports. Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, heard yesterday in New Hampshire from an array of stakeholders who weighed in with ideas about how to tackle the scourge of opiate addiction and how to improve public policy addressing these issues. Several people in the audience shared their stories of struggling with addiction; one man told Clinton that after a cocaine-induced blackout, he was convicted of murder.
Clinton said substance abuse had emerged as a pervasive issue as she has campaigned. “I have to confess — I was surprised,” she said. “I did not expect that I would hear about drug abuse and substance abuse and other such challenges everywhere I went.” She directed her advisers to speak with medical professionals and substance-abuse advocates as the campaign develops policy proposals during the coming months. Yesterday, she offered only broad prescriptions at a town hall event in Keene, saying that she wants to learn from the experts about what works. Mental-health issues and substance-abuse issues should be treated as health issues, she said. Clinton said more needs to be done to prevent people with serious mental illnesses from obtaining guns, and she vowed to improve background checks.