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Sam Quinones’ Testimony

January 9, 2018
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

As politicians, the natural response to a crisis like this is to look about for things you can do quickly, to show constituents you’re taking action.

I would caution, however, against acting too quickly, and especially in believing only in short-term responses to this problem.

Everything I’ve learned about this issue has taught me the importance of long-term, community responses to this problem.

CARA and the CURES Act make up a good start, but they are only a start.

I think we, as your constituents, ought to be humble, remain aware that this has festered for more than two decades, though most of the country awoke to it in the last two years. We need, as your constituents, to be patient, and not demand perfection or quick fixes. That’s what got us into all this in the first place – demanding quick fixes for the complicated problem of what to do about the mysteries of human pain.

I believe, too, we run into trouble when we attack one drug problem in isolation – and then are surprised and unprepared when the next one emerges.

Thus several of the ideas I’ve included here - that I’ve seen, or been told about as a reporter on this topic -- are those that I suspect might have utility for years to come, regardless of the kind of drug we encounter today, tomorrow, or in a decade.


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