Doctor: 'Throwing Money' Won't Solve Opioid Crisis:
"WASHINGTON – Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) last week introduced legislation that would extend $2.5 billion in funding over five years for states combating the opioid crisis, money that would be spent on top of the $1 billion appropriated in 2016 for two years of support.
...Arizona-based general surgeon Jeffrey Singer, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, said that if lawmakers continue the status quo by “throwing money at addiction treatment centers,” they’re wasting taxpayer dollars.
“It’s not like we have shortage of rehab centers,” Singer said.
“People who are addicted to this are addicted because they enjoy it, so having a rehab center available to them isn’t going to make them want to go in and sign up. I just think it’s a waste of money.”
...Singer said that there are two groups significantly impacted by the opioid crisis: those who are physically dependent, who could benefit from treatment centers, and addicts, who take the drugs because they enjoy it and who are not going to actively seek help.
...For more than two decades, Switzerland has participated in a heroin-maintenance program, in which people can declare themselves heroin addicts at clinics, receive prescription-grade diamorphine dosages, and inject themselves in the presence of a nurse with clean syringes.
Singer said this helps prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, while also driving overdoses down because the drugs are safer.
But the most positive impact from the program, he said, is that some individuals begin to wean themselves off the substances naturally..."