Elizabeth Warren Proposes $100 Billion Campaign to Fight Opioid Epidemic

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren advanced a proposal Wednesday to spend $100 billion over a decade to battle the opioid epidemic ravaging the U.S., the latest of many detailed policy plans that she hopes will attract voters to her campaign.

Under her plan, $40 billion dollars would go to states and localities to deal with opioid addiction by prevention, treatment and recovery, according to a summary provided by the Massachusetts senator’s staff.

An extra $27 billion would go to the hardest-hit counties and cities. The remaining money would be used for surveillance of public health, biomedical research and training health professionals, delivering services and broadening access to drugs that reverse overdoses.

Her campaign likened the plan to legislation passed in 1990 that made strides in combating the HIV/AIDS crisis that was then sweeping through the nation. It’s an updated version of the CARE Act that she introduced last year with Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Oversight Committee.

“Here’s the truth: fueling addiction is big business,” Warren wrote in a Medium.com post for Tuesday, blaming drug companies in part for the crisis. “Rather than blaming the victims, we need to make sure a crisis like this never happens again. That’s why I’ll keep fighting for real structural change — for accountability, and for a real solution for the opioid crisis.”

Warren said she’d use her proposed $2.75 trillion tax on wealth of more than $50 million to finance the $100 billion opioid plan, along with her $1.25 trillion education plan and her $700 billion universal child-care policy.

Warren is betting on her policy experience to prevail in a crowded Democratic primary contest dominated so far by former Vice President Joe Biden and, to a lesser extent 2016 runner-up Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator.

At campaign events in Iowa last weekend, she used the refrain “I’ve got a plan” when discussing her vision for taxing the wealthy to expand access to child care and cancel student debt for millions of Americans.

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