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Governor's Weekly Message Transcript: Finding Solutions to Address the Addiction Epidemic


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One of our themes for 2014 is unleashing the potential of every Delawarean. We're focused on creating the best possible education and job opportunities, and on strengthening our infrastructure to attract businesses while making our transportation and water systems safer. But if we're going to give everyone the chance to make the most of his or her abilities, we must also address the increasing human toll of our addiction epidemic. It's an issue that has long gone unaddressed because of an insensitive stigma that characterizes victims more as criminals who must be punished rather than as people with a disease that can be treated. Across our state, thousands of our neighbors and their family members are impacted by individuals' addiction to heroin, prescription drugs, alcohol or other substances. It costs our society an estimated $560 billion a year to address the health costs, crime, and lost productivity that result from substance abuse. And the true cost of the lives taken by addiction can't be measured. In 2013, more than 140 Delawareans died from suspected overdoses. My wife Carla and my administration are bringing together representatives from our legislature, criminal justice system, health care industry, and education community to find solutions. They'll develop ways to improve our approach to substance abuse education and prevention, as well as our treatment and recovery programs. The budget I presented to the General Assembly proposes to begin funding these efforts. I look forward to sharing the results of our work with you in the coming months. When we de-stigmatize addiction and treat it the way we would other chronic diseases, we'll save lives and the men and women we help will keep Delaware moving forward.

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