By KATHLEEN RONAYNE
HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — Top advisers from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign are speaking with substance abuse prevention advocates in Iowa and New Hampshire as they develop campaign policies around drug addiction and treatment.
Ann O’Leary and Maya Harris, two top policy advisers to the campaign, held video conferences last week with leading advocates in both early voting states, campaign officials said. Clinton said in April she would make mental health and substance abuse treatment a “big part” of her campaign after hearing about it on the trail in both states.
“This is a quiet epidemic and it is striking in small towns and rural areas as much as any big city,” Clinton said during an event in Keene, New Hampshire. During the roundtable at a furniture factory, a participant told Clinton about drug addiction in her family and asked for Clinton’s thoughts on the issue.
More than 300 people died from drug abuse in New Hampshire last year and the state has the second lowest treatment capacity in the nation, behind Texas.
Clinton’s campaign says she believes states should appropriately fund treatment programs and that insurance companies should treat addiction the same way they treat physical health.
Ideas discussed on the calls included a focus on prevention and treatment over criminalization, a nationwide shortage of treatment capacity and how to adequately fund and provide access to mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.
The campaign will begin rolling out policy in these areas in the next weeks and months, officials said.
Participants in the New Hampshire call included several law enforcement members, a member of the Governor’s Commission on Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, the executive director of non-profit New Futures, a small business owner, a recovering addict who now runs a recovery program and the executive director of an association for alcohol and drug service providers in New Hampshire.
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