Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said Wednesday that there is a “real possibility” that prescription painkillers will become the new normal in the U.S. during the 2016 election, and she said that the country needs to talk about the epidemic “with all of us.”
During an interview on CNN, Clinton said that while she has “always believed that opioids were a big problem in the United States, I’ve always believed that they were not a great problem, and I’ve been trying to put that into practice for a while.”
Clinton also said that she will work with Republicans to prevent prescription painkiller abuse and overdose, adding that it is “not something that I want to see happen in this country.”
She added that the opioid epidemic has caused “huge, tremendous damage.”
“I think we’ve got a real possibility that prescription drugs will become a bigger part of our health care system,” Clinton said.
“And it is not something that we want to do away with, but it is something that has to be addressed.”
Clinton said that Americans need to “get the facts” on the opioid crisis and “get some solutions to get out of it,” adding that she believes the country should “put our money where our mouth is.”
“It’s not just the fact that it’s a problem,” she said.
Clinton’s comments come after the release of a survey showing that 58% of Americans support prescription drug abuse, including an 80% increase from 2015.
The survey of 1,200 adults also showed that 69% of respondents said they have used a prescription drug at least once in the past month.
Clinton said Wednesday on CNN that she was “not trying to be a doctor,” and instead was simply telling the American people what they need to know.
“I don’t want them to think I’m a medical doctor, but I think there is an important lesson that we have to learn, which is that you don’t know what you don,t know,” Clinton told CNN.
“It is possible that we’re going to go back to the days of the pill, which was just the most dangerous drug on the planet.”
She also noted that prescription drug users are also at higher risk for dying, and that prescription addiction is a major public health problem.
“We have to figure out how to treat that problem and that is not going to be easy,” Clinton continued.
“There’s a real risk that we are going to have a generation of people who have never really recovered from an addiction.”
Clinton has been at the forefront of efforts to combat the opioid addiction crisis.
During her 2016 presidential bid, Clinton advocated for comprehensive treatment for drug addiction, which included expanding access to opioid-based medication for both adults and children.
Clinton also has been outspoken about the issue, arguing that prescription medication is an essential tool to combat chronic pain, and a prescription-based solution would “change the trajectory of the entire opioid crisis.”
On Wednesday, she also said there is “an epidemic” of prescription pain pills being given to people without their consent, a claim that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has disputed.
“People who use prescription opioids are abusing the system.
They are hurting people,” Clinton added.
“If we want people to get help, we need to have access to a treatment plan that works.”