Clinton calls for wider use of costly heroin overdose antidote

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump boasts about checking gas prices while in motorcade: 'You think Hillary Clinton would've done that?' Harry Reid on Iraq War vote: 'It tainted my heart' New Hampshire is ‘must-win’ state for Warren, says veteran political reporter MORE is pledging to vastly expand the country’s use of a costly drug that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

“I want it to be in more places than law enforcement. It needs to be on college campuses, it needs to be in workplaces, it needs to be in community centers,” she told a packed crowd at an event in Boston.  

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“It saves people’s lives, there’s nothing more important,” she said to applause, sitting beside Boston Mayor Martin Walsh.

The price of the heroin antidote drug, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration a year ago, has been skyrocketing. The wholesale price for one kit, which includes two doses, is $575.

Thursday’s panel marks the third event Clinton has hosted on substance abuse, specifically on heroin. Last month, Clinton unveiled a $10 billion plan to combat drug overdoses and addictions that doles out $7.5 billion in grants to states and cities with “good plans” to address the problem.

The nation's heroin epidemic has become a bigger campaign priority than expected in 2016, with Republican candidates Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina both opening up about how their daughters have grappled with drug addiction. Bush held a roundtable on substance abuse in New Hampshire one day before Clinton arrived in the region, which has one of the highest rates of drug abuse.  

The steep price of Clinton's program, she said, would be offset by money saved from not having to incarcerate people for drug-related offenses.

Clinton has vowed to make substance abuse a part of her 2016 platform and said the issue wasn’t on her radar until she began campaigning this summer.

“On the list of, quote, “things people care about,” this wasn’t on it, until I actually got out there and started talking to people,” she said, citing her “very first” national campaign event, when she fielded a question about heroin in New Hampshire.

“I'm convinced that we need to raise the visibility and importance of this issue,” she said to roaring applause in the low-income Boston neighborhood. “I want substance abuse put on the same level as any other challenge to our mental or physical health.”