Last week, President Obama announced a multipronged effort to address the epidemic of addiction to prescription opiate painkillers in this country. This is long overdue and, unfortunately, like most action on addiction and mental illness, comes after the problem has reached Stage 4 — and is that much harder to treat — when it could have been diagnosed and treated at Stage 1, or perhaps even prevented altogether.
I bring a unique perspective to this issue, one I would prefer I did not have. For 10 years, I sat on the House Appropriations Committee, overseeing every federal agency charged with addressing this subject. And during much of that time, I was addicted to prescription opiate painkillers myself. I would keep them in an aspirin bottle in my jacket so nobody would think it was strange when I popped one during an appropriations hearing.
– The Washington Post