Michelle Caldier has a highly questionable response to the opioid crisis. She has voted multiple times against measures aimed at curbing opioid use and educating physicians on the dangers of over-prescribing. As a former dentist who receives a large percentage of her support from a Dental PAC, she appears conflicted about who she is supporting – Dentists or patients.
The Opioid Crisis has intensified at an alarming rate during the Covid-19 crisis. Healthcare professionals are deeply concerned that the substance abuse disorder and accompanying mental health issues will continue to spiral out of control as the Pandemic continues to keep the economy constricted, and people isolated. Tragically, the rise of Opioid abuse is closely tied to heroin use, which is also on a steep rise. People addicted to opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to abuse or be dependent on heroin.
The Dental community has been far more reluctant than physicians to reduce use of opioids. Dentists in the U.S. prescribe opioids at a rate 70 times higher than dentists in England, a new study finds.
“Studies have shown that even as opioid prescribing rates have been declining overall, dental prescribing rates have been on the rise”.
“Dentists are one of the top prescribers of opioids, second only to family physicians”
Caldier receives a huge portion of her campaign funds from dentists around the state and the WA State Dental PAC.
Therefore, it is no coincidence that Caldier has voted against several proposals to help stem the epidemic:
Caldier voted NO (in extreme minority) on establishing an opioid epidemic response advisory council. (HB 2786 - 2019-20 passed; 68-28)
Caldier voted NO (in extreme minority) on restrictions on prescriptions for opioid drugs. This involves educating physicians on best practices regarding the prescribing of Opioids. (HB 1339 - 2017-18 passed 91-6)
Caldier voted NO on Modernizing substance use disorder professional practice. This bill was aimed at reducing the stigmatization of victims of substance use disorder. (HB 1340 - 2017-18 passed; 63-35)
Caldier appears to be more beholden to her Dental PAC than to her constituents. If she is genuinely concerned about the rising heroin drug use and the accompanying increased criminal behavior; you would think she would want to address the root cause. We need a voice in Olympia that will speak for the vulnerable.