2014 saw Congress and federal agencies pay more attention to substance abuse and addiction than any other time in recent history. The growing heroin and opioid epidemic was front and center as both chambers held numerous hearings on the subject this year. Several members of congress stepped into the fray, from both sides of the aisle and in both chambers. There were members of congress addressing the issue who had been working on it for years, such as Rep. Tim Ryan and Senator Carl Levin. There were lawmakers, such as Senators Markey and Ayotte, taking up the issue because they were hearing about the spread of heroin in their home states. In the federal agencies, even the Center for Disease Control wants to do more to address the spread of opioid abuse.
In 1986, the drug in the news was cocaine. It was portrayed as the drug of choice for the wealthy, jet-setting, indulgent, yuppie demographic in powder form, and of those in run-down urban areas in the form of crack. Its use was rampant and cited as a major factor in the need for increased law enforcement and seizures. Yet rarely were the dangers of the drug, and its impact on human lives, discussed. On June 19, 1986, that changed.