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Trump to Focus on Opioid Law Enforcement, Not Treatment

by Countable | 2.10.18

What’s the story?

In a speech in Cincinnati this week, President Donald Trump told a crowd that the opioid epidemic "has never been worse. People form blue ribbon committees. They do everything they can. And frankly, I have a different take on it. My take is you have to get really, really tough, really mean with the drug pushers and the drug dealers."

Why does it matter?

The "blue ribbon committees" Trump mentioned could be the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The commission, chaired by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, issued over 50 recommendations—the administration followed up on only a few.

This has led to lawmakers and health care officials criticizing the Trump administration for a lack of action.

Former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who served on the White House opioid commission, told NPR that he’s "incredulous."

"I mean this is just a mental health crisis of the first order. And this administration has done nothing."

What Has the President Done to Combat the Opioid Epidemic?

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is allowing states to request waivers to use Medicaid to pay for residential drug treatment at certain facilities.

  • Trump signed the Interdict Act, which requires Customs and Border Protection "to increase the number of chemical screening devices available to CBP officers to interdict fentanyl [and] other synthetic opioids…that are illegally imported into the United States."

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced earlier this week that Americans could combat the opioid crisis if they would take over-the-counter medications for pain and "tough it out." Sessions has also vowed to crack down on pharmacies and doctors who overprescribe opioids.

  • Trump promised he’d donate his third-quarter salary (around $100,000) to the Department of Health and Human Services for its fight against opioids.

What Are Critics Saying the President Hasn’t Done to Combat the Opioid Epidemic?

  • Though the president declared a public health emergency in October, he has yet to request any funds from Congress to combat the epidemic.

  • There is still no head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

  • The president hasn’t nominated anyone to head the Drug Enforcement Agency.

What do you think?

Is Trump correct in focusing on opioid law enforcement rather than treatment? Should the administration request funding from Congress to combat the epidemic? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: AppleZoomZoom / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(103)
  • NoHedges
    02/10/2018
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    Legalize marijuana, provide quality single payer healthcare and incentivize medical innovation. Then problem will shrink to a manageable level. 🛑 But, u don't really want to fix the problem, u want to profit. Well then, this should make ur for profit prison donors very happy. 📬 DNC get serious! Stop focusing on the edges! Take a play out of Kansas Tamale Aaron Coleman's playbook and move the message to the middle. 🎁 Work to restore the middle-class and we will honor your progress come the 2018 midterms.

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  • Leo
    02/10/2018
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    This creates more business for private prisons at the expense of lives

    Like (32)
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  • Donna
    02/11/2018
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    Addiction is an illness and needs to be treated as one. Someone needs to inform DJT that most people addicted to opioids in this country got hooked BY THEY DOCTORS, not by invisible drug pushers crossing our borders. The drug companies, the FDA, the doctors and the pharmacies all had a part in this crisis and need to be held accountable. These addicts need help, not incarceration, especially in a private prison from which the AG gets a cut. Anyone with a brain would NEVER make the statement that people in pain should just take OTC drugs and 'deal with it'. Someone needs to tell the idiot that long-term use of Tylenol can be considered addictive and can cause liver damage and death. Are the execs at McNeil on his 'hit list'? I do not want these uninformed, prejudiced idiots forming any policy relating to the health and well-being of the citizens in this country. The last war on drugs cost the taxpayers billions of dollars and solved nothing. Use the money to help the helpless and stop the deaths. It is your responsibility as a human and it is called COMPASSION.

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  • Susan
    02/10/2018
    ···

    Of course he is. Why would a narcissistic dictator actually try to help people? Shithole.

    Like (27)
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  • Truly
    02/10/2018
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    Does the liar in chief realize that most of the opioid users are white? Once someone on his staff points it out to him, he will make sure treatment is an option over incarceration.

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  • S
    02/11/2018
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    Tough it out? I’d like to see Sessions tough it out after a triple by pass or appendectomy or broken leg. He is as big an idiot as trump. Pharma pushed the opioids on doctors who pushed them onto patients. As usual, this admin is being run by extraordinarily unintelligent people who have no common sense, insight, or even rudimentary scientific or medical knowledge. Being “real mean” to drug dealers doesn’t treat or reduce addiction. Checking borders has been going on forever, and the drug problem continues unabated. Why? Because doctors keep over prescribing, Medicaid in many states does not cover addiction treatment, insufficient funding for treatment, and a federal government run by idiots who don’t want money for treatment believing addiction is the fault of the addict and would go away if they really wanted not to be addicted. Heroin became less expensive and more available than opioids, and now has become the alternative when opioids are unavailable. They believe people think it’s fun being addicted and enjoy hurting themselves and destroying their families. I am sure, however, they don’t have any glib answers for the children who are addicted. Trump and Sessions need to take a trip on Reality Road and immerse themselves in learning what is happening rather than Mar o Logging it and pretending like they are experts. A trip to the suburbs and to businesses with professional, white collar addicts would change their tune. There but for the grace of God go they and their families. If trump doesn’t read security briefings and has the attention span of a flea he will never spend time learning about addiction. And of course because it is scientifically addressed by medicine he and Sessions reject it all. There is no place for science of any kind in the trump admin. He won’t donate his salary anymore than he will fund treatment. He lies about everything, and his belief that $100,000 will do anything meaningful demonstrates how unintelligent he is. If he really wanted to do some good he would donate $500 million of his own money. That is pocket money to him and money the govt would not expect the tax payers to “donate.” After all that is money he continues to make while in office and violating ethical requirements while Congress looks the other way.

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  • Countryfirst
    02/10/2018
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    Dictators don't help their people..they control and when they can't control they MURDER them!!! You republican cowards are supporting a DICTATORSHIP!!

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  • Stephanie
    02/10/2018
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    Our country does have issues with opioids, but our administration is off the mark in how to effectively meet those needs. We need effective treatments available to all members of society, meaningful education, and sufficient support. Telling people to “tough it out” is asinine. We can do better!

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  • Marylynn
    02/10/2018
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    Of course Cadet Bone Spurs isn't going to do anything about treatment, it's better to just lock up these addicts or better yet let them die. Let's keep those for profit jails filled to capacity. Perhaps we should lock up all the lawmakers including Cadet Bone Spurs for owning stock in all the big pharma companies that manufacture these toxic drugs. 'Cause they're the real criminals.

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  • Kathryn
    02/10/2018
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    The drug dealers are big pharma and the drug pushers are doctors within the evil pay-for-service health care system that holds Americans hostage. Kill the health care insurance industry, expand Medicare to every American, which will negotiate better drug prices and transparency, and America will see better outcomes at infinitely more reasonable costs. Cure the disease of greed in health care and the nation will immediately regain its health.

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  • Guy
    02/11/2018
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    This is a pharmaceutical company problem pushed through by lobbyists. Congress is to scared to take on these monsters, but take them on they must. They also need to strip the licenses from abusive prescribing doctors. Let’s start at the top. Follow the money.

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  • Chickie
    02/10/2018
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    I would not mind pitching in to get #45 a CLUE! This incredulous inept attitude is right up there with ‘clean coal’! We must provide treatment for those who are suffering from the addiction. It’s just like #45 (the reality TV personality that he is), to ignore the truth and focus on the salacious!

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  • Hillary
    02/11/2018
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    The "war on drugs" didn't work the first time. Throwing more people in jail doesn't stop people from dying of overdose. We've already tried this! It doesn't work. And anything out of the current administration on opioids cannot be trusted if he can't even take half a minute to nominate a head of the DEA! Meanwhile, people need prescription pain medicine. It's vital medical care! And that is up to doctors and medical professionals not the current racist attorney general to say who needs or doesn't need medical assistance! Are we in the dark ages?!

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  • Fred
    02/10/2018
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    Do our leaders really care about opioid abuse or do they care more about that free flowing pharmaceutical cash going to fund their “campaigns?”

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  • James
    02/10/2018
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    Of course, gotta fill those private prisons, Jeff Sessions & his ilk own, shows how out of touch & how unable to have a pinch of empathy Trump is

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  • TracyEckels
    02/10/2018
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    I was injured on the job as an Electronics Technician with the Federal Bureau Of Prisons. That was 30 years ago and since then I’ve probably used every opioid pain medication that’s available. I’ve gone through addiction and recovery several times since then. I currently use an opioid medication, and the best thing is that I don’t get any euphoria from these medications anymore. I’ve used them for so long that my tolerance is very high. I simply take the medication on schedule and my chronic pain is well under control. Personally I think that pain medications like Vicodin and Norco are very addictive because they are just one of a combination of Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen. I am certain that acetaminophen is highly addictive and the combination of Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone work successfully to boost each other and that the combination of the two in any combination is very addictive.

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  • Judith
    02/10/2018
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    WHAT EVANGELICALS DON'T REALIZE IS THAT TRUMP IS THE ANTICHRIST !!!! HIS TOOLS ARE PHARMA, CORRUPT DOCTORS AND HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY ! STOP SUPPORTING THE DEVIL !!! GET THEE AWAY FROM SATAN !!!!

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  • Becca
    02/11/2018
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    No, do what has been proven will work and save lives! Portugal decriminalized addiction 17 years ago, and now hardly anyone dies of a drug overdose in Portugal. That’s only 3 overdose deaths per million citizens a year! Compare that to the U.S., the NIDA reported 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016. Do the math on that!

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  • JTJ
    02/10/2018
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    Do you know that Trump’s brother died from his addictions? Trump is donating his 3Q salary for the cause. Would Hillary do that? Quit pretending like you care about this issue, when really you just hate Trump.

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  • David
    02/10/2018
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    Sadly, law enforcement will not work in this case. Our “representatives” are bought and paid for by these drug pushers: Big Pharma. Laws have already been purchased that tie the DEA’s hands. President Shithole can’t do much about it.

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