Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has laid out a plan for fighting drug and alcohol addiction in the United States, including a new US$7.5 billion ($10.6 billion) federal fund to help states tackle a problem afflicting 23 million Americans.
In an opinion piece in the Manchester Union Leader, a New Hampshire newspaper, Clinton set out five goals including empowering communities to prevent drug use among teenagers and making addiction treatment available to every person needing it. "Twenty-three million Americans suffer from addiction, but only 1 in 10 get treatment," she wrote in the piece posted on the Union Leader's website on Tuesday.
Clinton said the federal government "will draw on a new US$7.5 billion fund to help states meet their goals" in fighting what she called a "quiet epidemic." She did not make clear how she would pay for the program.
Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 election, said she would "prioritize treatment over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenders, so we can end the era of mass incarceration."
The goals, she said, also include better training for healthcare workers to recognize substance-use disorders, and having all first responders carry naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.