Lawmakers Look for New Ways to Battle Rising Addiction Rates

By Staff Writer

The news concerning rates of opiate addiction and other forms of chemical dependencies are far from encouraging. Public health officials have reported dramatic increases in the number of drug abusers, particularly those who use prescription medications recreationally. However, many state lawmakers are leading efforts to correct the problem by whatever means they have available.

For example, state senators in West Virginia recently proposed instituting several new fees that would raise money for addiction treatment programs, according to the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. Weary of raising taxes on homeowners and taxpayers, the proposals instead suggest increasing levies on cigarette and alcohol purchases.

This approach could accomplish two things. By raising the cost of alcohol and tobacco, more people may be steered away from these substances. Furthermore, the increased feeds could raise a tremendous amount of money for state-funded drug rehab programs.

“I plan to work to make sure we take meaningful steps to combat the growing problem of drug addiction in West Virginia,” Delegate Kevin Craig told the news source. “We cannot shy away from this devastating issue. The time is now for a bold approach to fighting addiction.”

The funds could be used to treat the growing number of prescription drug addicts. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that this addiction increased by 111 percent between 2004 and 2008.