Carly Fiorina’s Stepdaughter’s Death Prompts Stance On Addiction Care

POLITICIANS SPEAKING OUT ABOUT ADDICTION

With the United States 2016 Presidential Election race well underway, the candidates have worked tirelessly on the campaign trail in an effort to convey their stances on a wide range of hot-button issues. With 15 candidates currently vying for the presidency, Republican Carly Fiorina, former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, has emerged as a leading contender, partly due to her position on a variety of issues, specifically addiction care.

WHEN ADDICTION HITS HOME

Having lost her stepdaughter to a longstanding battle with addiction, Fiorina has a first-hand understanding about the dangers of substance abuse. [1] She firmly believes that more funds and resources need to be invested towards the treatment of addiction and mental healthcare. Fiorina has stated that criminalizing substance abuse is not the answer, it needs to be understood and treated as a disease. [2]

Fiorina’s personal crusade towards raising awareness about substance abuse and addiction care began in 2009, following the untimely death of her stepdaughter, Lori Ann Fiorina. [3] Carly Fiorina met Lori Ann when she was only six years old and about to marry her father, Frank Fiorina. Quickly forming a close bond, for the next 29 years of Lori Ann’s life, Carly was inspired by her compassion, liveliness, hard work ethic and potential.

A DIM ENDING TO A BRIGHT FUTURE

After graduating college, a variety of stressors, including marital woes, aggravated Lori Ann’s addiction and caused her to overindulge with alcohol, abuse anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication as well as struggle with bulimia. [4]

During a long war with substance abuse, Lori Ann had entered into rehabilitation programs three times. However, in October of 2009, she was found unresponsive in her New Jersey home and then pronounced deceased.

NEW REPRECUSSIONS FOR ADDICTS

To counteract the rampant substance abuse problem, Carly Fiorina has suggested reforming the criminal justice system. This means not putting those arrested for non-violent drug offenses in jail and adding to the overpopulation of prisons across the county, but enrolling them in addiction care rehabilitation programs. Time Magazine states that drug offenders who complete substance abuse treatment are 25 percent less likely to be re-arrested within two years of finishing the program. Under President Barack Obama, some states have already begun to implement new, similar legislation.

Texas, for example, and many other states have created drug courts. Addicted individuals who meet specific criteria may be eligible to participate in this type of program instead of traditional legal proceedings.  This court supervises addicts and aids in keeping them in treatment, in lieu of jail. For at least one year, these courts:

  • Provide addiction treatment
  • Hold addicts accountable and ensure that they meet their legal, societal, familial and personal obligations while staying sober
  • Randomly and regularly conduct drug testing
  • Review an individual’s progress through regular court appearances in front of a judge
  • Penalize and sanction addicts when requirements aren’t met
  • Provide rewards when requirements are met

THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE EPIDEMIC

Every day 44 people in the United States die from overdosing on prescription drugs.

Although extremely sad and disturbing, Lori Ann and the Fiorina family’s battle with addiction is an all too common occurrence across the globe and specifically in the United States. The drug epidemic has spread to all corners of the world, affecting people of every age, nationality and financial means. Prescription opioids have come to the forefront as one of the most abused substances in the country and the world, causing addiction care to be an important issue in the upcoming election.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that every day, 44 people in the United States die from overdosing on prescription drugs. [5] With the number of overdose deaths continually on the rise, researchers and physicians have concluded that these opioid-related occurrences are lending themselves to an equally serious problem: heroin.

THE INS AND OUTS OF OPIOIDS

Opioids are pain-relieving drugs that are highly addictive. Some examples of brand name opioids include OxyContin and Vicodin. [6] There is a variety of reasons why one may become addicted to opioids, genetics and family history can play a particularly large role in this. Another reason why prescription painkiller addictions have become so prevalent is due to the fact that these substances are legal. Many times, physicians will prescribe these to a patient in order to mitigate pain. However, after taking them; many individuals become dependent and then addicted. With high street prices for these pills, many addicts turn to the more harsh, illegal and cheaper fellow opioid: heroin.

There are multitudes of physiological and psychological warning signs that can highlight an individual’s addiction to painkillers. Some of these can include:

  • Increased Anxiety
  • Lowered Motivation
  • Psychosis
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Physical Agitation
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Increased Heart Rates
  • Constricted Blood Vessels
  • Increased Energy
  • High Blood Pressure

Many times people can feel physically dependent on the substance due to the wide range of withdrawal symptoms that can occur without the opioids, some of these may be:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle Aches
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated Pupils

A FRESH PERSPECTIVE

The 2016 Presidential Election and Carly Fiorina have aided in highlighting the substance abuse epidemic and the strides needed to be made in addiction care in the United States. President Obama has made many of these strides, for example with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), in improving addiction care and extending treatment availability to everyone. It is imperative for the next president to continue increasing coverage and treatment for addicts.

Seaside Palm Beach is an all-inclusive, premier rehabilitation facility. For over two decades, our comprehensive holistic approach to treatment has led to industry high success rates. By only utilizing proven and evidence-based practices, we empower our patients to leave rehabilitation with the proper skills to remain sober.

Through onsite medical detox and specialized therapies such as mental health treatments, group counseling and activity-based and animal-based programs, patients have a wide range of programs to aid them on the road to recovery. Our certified and caring staff promotes a safe environment for addicts to recover. Seaside Palm Beach’s team of doctors and nurses create a customized care plan specific for each individual in order to meet their needs and help them defeat their addiction. For more information on Seaside Palm Beach please call, (888) 997-3274.