Brookfield, WI –  The Covid-19 pandemic has been the center of attention in recent months, but opioid addiction continues to be an enormous public health crisis. It continues to ravage communities coast-to-coast. This is why Tom Palzewicz, running for the Fifth Congressional District seat in Washington, stands with Joe Biden and fellow Democrats in forming a plan to help addicts and families find hope in overcoming opioid and other drug and alcohol addictions.

“Countless thousands of people have died from overdoses every year, not just from opioids, but from alcohol and other drugs,” said Palzewicz. “So many suffer because they cannot afford the treatment programs they need to manage their addiction. The first step is to create a system whereby people can access high-quality healthcare at an affordable price. The Affordable Care Act (ACA, ‘Obamacare’) designates substance abuse disorder and mental health services as essential benefits that insurers must cover by extending Medicaid.”

“But the Republicans and President Trump want to repeal the ACA, and that effectively would put over 20 million people out of coverage. That is why Joe Biden needs to win this election, because his plan will ensure coverage for those who might otherwise perish.”

Palzewicz is a strong proponent for universal healthcare, but the first step in making that a reality is to protect the ACA and build from that foundation. The basis of the Biden plan is:

  • Hold accountable big pharmaceutical companies, executives, and others responsible for their role in triggering the opioid crisis.
  • Make effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services available to all, including a $125 billion federal investment.
  • Stop overprescribing while improving access to effective and needed pain management.
  • Reform the criminal justice system, so the crime of drug use is no longer punishable with incarceration.
  • Stem the flow of illicit drugs, like fentanyl and heroin, into the United States – especially from China and Mexico.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we all need to talk this through, so this isn’t a Republican or Democratic problem, it is OUR problem,” said Palzewicz. “I promise to listen to all sides of this issue. I will discuss this with Republicans, Independents, and all who come to the table to learn and take action. Together we can overcome this public health crisis.”

“It is important that we remove the stigma from addiction,” said Palzewicz. “Nobody sets out to be an addict/alcoholic. Some may abuse drugs and never become addicted, while others have one experience and are immediately hooked. Addiction steals a person’s identity, and takes away their ability to make good choices. It’s a difficult disease to treat, which is why the current healthcare system needs to be changed. Saving the ACA is of vital importance.”

Palzewicz appreciates treatment centers’ efforts, such as Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, that have made a positive difference in the lives of so many. But that is just the beginning, as all addict/alcoholics need access to treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient. We must redesign the healthcare system to meet the challenges of the future.

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