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Bill Clinton Gets Emotional Talking About Friends Lost To Drug Addiction

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 14/03/2016 Amanda Terkel

The heroin epidemic is getting far less attention these days in the national press now that the presidential candidates have moved on from New Hampshire. The state's tradition of having small, intimate events meant that no matter where the candidates turned, they heard from voters who shared personal stories about the toll the epidemic had taken on them.

But the opioid crisis is still ravaging other parts of the country, and voters want the presidential campaigns to know. 

Bill Clinton stumped for his wife in Chillicothe, Ohio, last week, calling Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) a "formidable opponent." While walking through the city, a group of women who run an addiction program stopped the former president and told them about their work. 

"We need help. We need a lot of help," said one of the women with Where Waz Eye, which helps women battle addiction. 

Clinton told them he and Hillary Clinton, through their foundation, had been working on the heroin crisis for years, inspired by the death of one of his best friend's sons.

"I've now lost three children of three friends," Clinton said. "So we've pioneered two things -- cheaper injections of naloxone, Narcan. Then I got another company to make it in nasal spray form. Putting it in every high school, every college in America."

In January, the Clinton Foundation announced that any high school would be able to get an emergency opioid overdose reverse kit, free of charge, thanks to a partnership with Adapt Pharma. 

Naloxone is nonaddictive, nontoxic and easy to administer, especially through nasal application. It reverses the effects of an opioid overdose by essentially blocking the opioid receptors that heroin and many prescription painkillers target.

In September, Hillary Clinton came out with a detailed $10 billion plan to fight addiction, throwing her support behind medication-assisted treatment. 

Bill Clinton exchanged information with the Where Waz Eye women and said he wanted to follow up about their work.

The heroin epidemic did not come up during Sunday's CNN Democratic town hall in Ohio, although one woman in the front row said she wished it had. She was on CNN's list of potential questioners -- but ultimately wasn't called on -- and had written out what she wanted to say hours in advance: a call for more assistance in the crisis. 

"They need help. We need help," Karey Dyer told WSYX ABC 6. "My cry today is please hear us. We need help. We need things to change."

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