President Obama said Tuesday more attention is being paid to addiction as a health issue now that it is seen as an increasing threat to white communities, The Washington Post reports.
Speaking at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Obama said addiction should be seen as a health issue, instead of simply a criminal problem.
“We have to be honest about this,” he said. “Part of what has made it previously difficult to emphasize treatment over the criminal justice system has to do with the fact that the populations affected in the past were viewed as or stereotypically identified as poor, minority. As a consequence, the thinking was it is often a character flaw in those individuals who live in those communities, and it’s not our problem that they’re just being locked up,” Obama said. “One of the things that’s changed in this opioids debate is a recognition that this reaches everybody.”