I heard from community leaders and experts at HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery about the opioid epidemic, which has ravaged this country. HOPE is a recovery center for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. They focus on creating safe, judgement-free spaces, and provide a non-clinical approach to recovery.
I spoke to a woman in New Hampshire about the importance of the community created by recovery centers like HOPE. Even though each story is different, she said, the circumstances are the same. Through this shared experience, she and others found the strength to overcome great obstacles and help others to do the same.
Another woman, a nurse in long term recovery, talked about her experience as a recovering addict. She spoke to a group of nurses at a local hospital about how best to interact with patients who are battling addiction and in recovery. Her journey of recovery at HOPE and going on to help others was inspiring. We need more of this spirit in America today.
Sometimes we’re overwhelmed by the numbers and statistics of this crisis. And while those statistics are important, we risk losing the faces behind those numbers. Nothing stresses the enormity of the opioid epidemic as hearing first-hand stories from those affected.
This experience helped me better understand the steps toward recovery. Today, I unveiled my plan to reinvest in the Heartland, where the opioid epidemic has taken root.
We need improvements to rural health. Doctors and health care professionals should receive incentives to move to and serve rural communities. Let’s integrate physical and mental health care and guarantee parity for mental health care. Let’s expand and invest in community health centers and in tele-health so folks don’t have to drive hours to get the care they need. And let’s ensure rural communities have access to treatment centers like HOPE.
It’s time for Democrats to reconnect with rural America. I am grateful to those who shared their stories. We need to not just talk about the problems Americans face, but work together on ways to help solve them.