You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

breaking news

NEW: Top clinician for notorious treatment center gets 5 years in prison

POINT OF VIEW Trump administration should address addiction in America


To President-elect Donald J. Trump:

You have been elected as the outsider and someone who is expected to “drain the swamp.” You were elected because of your direct and unconventional ideas that alter the national discussion on many issues. You, along with the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, have an opportunity to address and ultimately reform two major issues that have been swept under the rug and received little to no attention during the presidential election — mental health care in this country, and the growing heroin and opioid epidemic that is ravaging our communities.

As a mental health professional who works with drug addicts, I have seen the failures of the current system. Too many addicts are cut off from adequate, long-term care that they need and deserve. Insurance companies are dictating treatment and not providing the necessary coverage for those in residential drug treatment programs.

While the insurance companies are deciding the length of care, our pharmaceutical companies are pumping pain pills out at an unimaginable rate, leading doctors to overprescribe highly addictive pills that are expensive and lead many individuals to find a cheaper source of pain relief: heroin.

Additionally, mental health care in this country is deplorable (to borrow a term from the election). Community mental health centers are poorly run, understaffed and driven by managed care. The Veterans Administration is a mess, as countless veterans wait for mental health care and benefits.

As a clinician, the current state of care is sad and something needs to change. Here are a few proposals that will address the issues listed above:

• Rein in pharmaceutical companies’ ability to continue overselling pain medications, particularly opioids, and lay out a five-to-10-year plan where pain management doctors MUST find alternate treatments.

• The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should track the amount of pain pills doctors prescribe to a patient and ensure overmedicating patients is not happening.

• Label fentanyl a Class A or B drug. This highly addictive drug is being used by heroin addicts and is 100 times stronger than heroin. If police catch someone with fentanyl, they cannot do anything. Empower police and local authorities to rid the drug from our communities.

• Cut the red tape at the Veterans Administration, and allow vets to access private mental health clinics and providers.

Your administration has a tremendous opportunity to tackle these issues. I hope you act boldly.

BRAD JAFFE, WEST PALM BEACH

Editor’s note: Brad Jaffe is president of Family Relations Intervention LLC in West Palm Beach.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: Is Macron the EU’s last best hope?

For the French establishment, Sunday’s presidential election came close to a near-death experience. As the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, it was a “damn near-run thing.” Neither candidate of the two major parties that have ruled France since Charles De Gaulle even made it into the runoff, an astonishing repudiation of France&rsquo...
Letters West Palm leaders wrong to reward brewery with city money

West Palm wrong to reward brewery The West Palm Beach City Commission should not be in the business of granting public monies to private companies (“City OKs $100K incentive for Steamhorse’s brewery,” Tuesday.) The first problem with this practice is that it opens the door for illegal kickbacks to the commission members or legal donations...
CARTOON
CARTOON

CARTOON VIEW DANA SUMMERS
POINT OF VIEW Science matters to everyone

Last weekend, supporters around the globe joined the March for Science. This was the first organized effort in history in which scientists have stood up for what we do every day and often for a lifetime — push forward human knowledge for the betterment of society. But, we are at a crossroads. Many of us believe that science is under existential...
Friedman: On a par 5 in Dubai, good humor and a respite from Trump

President Donald Trump has already played an incredible amount of golf in his first 100 days. He says he needs the break. I sympathize. In fact, I need a break, too — from him. So I break today to write about … golf — in Dubai, where I participated in an education conference. The UAE has made Dubai into the counter-ISIS, a place...
More Stories