Addiction Treatment: 2016 Presidential Candidates Weigh In

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With the 2016 presidential campaign currently in full swing, there is no shortage of topics on which these candidates are squaring off. With drug addiction being such a prevalent issue in the U.S., many people are interested in knowing where these candidates stand as far as addiction treatment is concerned.

Currently, it is estimated that as many as 23 million Americans are struggling with addiction and drug abuse. What is even more alarming is the fact that only 11 percent of these individuals will actually receive professional treatment.

There is a common notion that one of the primary causes for such a low percentage of people who suffer from addiction actually receiving treatment is the criminalization of drug addiction, which creates a negative connotation that inhibits people who are struggling with addictions from seeking health.

Following are some of the thoughts and stances of the leading 2016 presidential candidates as revealed in the Washington Post.

2016 Presidential Candidates on Addiction Treatment

Rosanne Barr (Peace and Freedom Party)

Although Rosanne Barr has never been considered as a serious candidate for the presidency of the United States, it is worth noting that her approach to the drug epidemic is to create drug laws that are people-based. In addition to supporting the legalization of marijuana, Barr also supports the treatment of addictions over imprisoning non-violent individuals who are suffering with an addiction.

Fmr. Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL)

The former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, has taken a rather hard-nosed approach toward drugs, including those who use them. He is completely against legalizing marijuana, He is, however, willing to fund programs that would reduce teen substance abuse, although he does not hold the same sentiments when it comes to adult users.

Dr. Ben Carson (Republican)

Dr. Ben Carson has highly conservative views concerning drug use, and how it should be dealt with, standing against recreational marijuana use, while supporting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. His medical background also influences his approach to treatment, which he believes is best accomplished in a highly qualified treatment facility.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

Hillary Clinton is a presidential candidate that is actually part of a long legacy in which the name Clinton has been associated with harsh sentencing practices for individuals who were struggling with drug abuse and drug addiction issues.

She is, however, now promoting the diversion of non-violent offenders away from prisons to more conventional and supportive treatment centers. According to, Clinton also indicated that she is ready to spend $10 billion to end addiction.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

When it comes to engaging the enigmatic issues associated with drug addiction and the treatment of drug abuse and drug addiction, Ted Cruz is a presidential candidate that has been relatively quiet on the subject.

He has expressed that he believes that lowering the mandatory minimums is important to successfully confront the problem. He believes that treating people who are addicted to a controlled substance in a non-hostile environment would be more efficacious.

Donald Trump (Republican)

When it comes to presidential candidates, it would be hard pressed to find one who has been more vocal and controversial on multitudinous topics than Donald Trump, but he is relatively conservative when it comes to dealing with the drug problem.

He believes that drugs should be legalized, and the revenue generated through the taxation of the drugs should be used to fund educational and treatment programs.

While understanding where a candidate may stand on a sensitive issue like addiction treatment may not provide a complete impression of the candidates in the race, it does allow voters to determine if their candidate actually has their fingers on the pulse of what is considered important to Americans.

Photo Credit by By (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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