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The opioid crisis is continuing to grow worse with deaths from fatal drug overdoses up 10 % this past year reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The opioid crisis targets mostly young people in city centers and many rural regions across the country. The wave of addictions through our working age people is damaging our ability to grow our work force to support a robust economy.
Sources: Deutsche Bank, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Shot – 9/19/18
The Koch Brothers, known for their backing conservative candidates and policy programs have a foundation arm called Stand Together which has invested $2 million to $3 million in “The Phoenix” gyms of Denver. Recovering addicts can come to the gym free, to work out, receive coaching and support during their recovery. Peter Thanos, an addiction researcher at the University of Buffalo, told the Wall Street Journal that persistent exercise has shown to be effective in drug rehabilitation. Drugs hijack the reward system in the brain, Thanos observed. Physical exercise can re direct that reward system. He commented ‘in theory, you should be able to have an effect on drug-seeking” through exercise.
The political advocacy arm of the Koch network, Americans for Prosperity, is working to cut the funding for Medicaid in Utah and Nebraska. Yet, Medicaid is the main source of mental health services funding in the U.S.
We applaud the support of the Koch brothers through their foundation of this innovative effort to attack the opioid crisis. It seems that they need to look at what their advocacy group is doing to undermine the work of the foundation. Does it not make sense to invest in returning thousands of our young people to become sober, taking jobs, raising families, buying houses and buying or using Koch brothers company products? Let’s think about the opioid crisis from a long range point of view by investing in addicted people, bringing them back to productive lives. It does not make sense to hurt this effort, instead we should all be working together to solve all facets of this problem resulting in a higher quality of life and a thriving economy. We need all the workers we can get to be productive in the declining labor force 25- 55 year age group, otherwise we shall go deeper into debt to support our seniors.