In my November 15th op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch, I suggested that we – the broader we – need to get a win in health care policy. A week later, Governor McAuliffe declared a Public Health Emergency on opioid addiction. This supported what the Virginia Consumer Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) had experienced and continues to experience during our dialogues around the Commonwealth.
So it was interesting to say the least when the Richmond Times Dispatch previewed health care for the 2017 General Assembly session. Opioids were not mentioned.
Instead the old fights were – once again – brought to the surface.
What a shame. I doubt it was intentional since Governor McAuliffe did declare a Public Health Emergency and over 33,000 Americans died last year from this dreaded disease, 23 million are in active drug and alcohol recovery, and 22 million more should be in treatment but don’t think they need the help.
But this is part of the problem – denial. As Sarah Melton said at our Abingdon meeting: “Addiction is a disease, not a moral failure.”
Here you have a Public Health Emergency that is killing 33,000 Americans and some want us fighting old fights rather than solving problems together.
In time of historically low trust in our governing institutions, it seems to me that focusing like a laser on this Public Health Emergency would go a long, long way to rebuild that lost trust.
We realize that consensus and compromise are difficult sells politically sometimes. Heck, even Margaret Thatcher is quoted saying “Consensus is death.”
Well, what would a lack of consensus be on this issue then?
Let’s get a win. Congratulations to Governor McAuliffe and the House Republicans for admitting we have a problem.
Working together to solve it could become…addictive!
If you want to voice your support to urge the General Assembly to make the opioid crisis its top priority, please click here.