Sadly, we’ve come to expect the occasional B.S. statement, op-ed, or quote from an elected official. We write it off as just part of the job.
A salute to veterans on Veterans Day despite a voting record cutting veterans benefits or a call for civility in politics after assaulting a journalist, you know, normal politician things.
But this Op-Ed from Steve Daines might be the mother of all cowpies.
It would seem Daines realizes that no one can be against drug treatment. It’s a bipartisan winner for a Republican Party that’s top priority seem to be dismantling the social safety net to pay for tax cuts for the ultra-rich.
“This will surely land me praise from all sides of the aisle. From the hard-working kitchen tables of Sidney, to the reclaimed wood tv dinner sets of non-traditional families in Missoula,” is what I can only assume went through Daines’ mind as he wrote this.
To quote from the Senator’s op-ed, ” Community involvement, education, prevention, and treatment – these are the tools we need to defeat meth in Montana and I am committed to bolstering these efforts so we can kick meth out of Montana once and for all. I’m asking for you to share your story if you or a family member has been impacted by meth addiction.”
Bravo Senator, way to stand up and fight for the families destroyed by meth abuse. But actions speak louder than words and do you know what helps addicts more than 650 words in Lee Newspapers? MEDICAID MONEY.
The same Medicaid program you hope to demolish next week with the American Health Care Act.
The meth epidemic can be linked to the opioid epidemic because often times after an addict is unable to get prescribed or afford prescription opioids the cheapest and most common way to chase their high is meth.
This Flathead Beacon story from 2016 paints the harrowing progression for an addict.
The whole story is certainly worth your time, but this excerpt highlights the connection between opioid abuse and meth:
“No longer in the military, Smith couldn’t get the painkillers he had become addicted to and started to use heroin instead. But at that time, the local heroin supply was drying up, at least temporarily. One day, Smith’s dealer told him that he couldn’t get any heroin but he did have methamphetamine.
“I said, ‘No way, I’ve been down that road before,’” Smith recalled.
But Smith’s withdrawals were intense – “I started to feel like a tin can being crushed” – and three hours later he called the dealer back. He purchased some methamphetamine and smoked it out of a light bulb. A week later, he injected it for the first time.”
The day after Daines’ plea for help fighting addiction was published the President’s first opioid task force held a meeting. During this meeting, experts pleaded with the task force not to cut Medicaid.
PBS reports, “Medicaid is the largest national payer for addiction and mental health treatment,” said Dr. Joe Parks, the medical director for the National Council for Behavioral Health. “Since the majority of increased opiate deaths and suicide occur in young and middle-aged adults, which is the [Medicaid] expansion population, the Medicaid expansions must be maintained and completed.”
You cannot properly fight meth in Montana without also fighting the opioid problem as well.
Daines extends a public olive branch to the families ravaged by meth but hopes to rip away the program that can help treat addicts before they turn to meth.
It takes a special person to claim to be fighting an epidemic like meth addiction one-day and vote to cut the legs out from addiction treatment programs the next.
Guess next week we will see just how special Senator Daines is.