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Trump Unveils Three-Pronged Opioid Plan

by Countable | Updated on 3.19.18

What’s the story?

  • President Donald Trump was in New Hampshire on Monday, where he unveiled a new plan to tackle the country’s opioid epidemic.

  • "New Hampshire is one of the hardest hit states by the opioid overdose crisis, but obviously this crisis impacts everyone everywhere," senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway told reporters on Sunday.

  • The Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse focuses on three main elements:

Law enforcement and interdiction

  • The White House plans to seek the death penalty for drug dealers and traffickers "where appropriate by law."

  • At a White House opioid summit earlier this month, the president said:

"The administration's going to be rolling out policy over the next three weeks, and it'll be very, very strong. Some countries have a very, very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty. And by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do. So we're going to have to be very strong on penalties."

  • Trump is also calling on Congress to pass legislation to reduce the number of drugs needed to trigger mandatory minimum sentences for drug dealers.

  • Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have already announced plans to introduce legislation "aimed at fighting [the] opioid epidemic."

Prevention and education

  • Within three years, the White House seeks to cut the number of opioid prescriptions filled by one-third.

  • At the event, Trump added that the "Department of Justice is looking very seriously into bringing major litigation against some of these drug companies. We’ll bring it at a federal level."

  • Trump told the crowd at Manchester Community College that "90% of the heroin in America comes from our southern border" and building a wall with Mexico will "keep the damn drugs out."

  • The Trump administration’s plan also includes "scaling up research and development efforts, especially through a public-private partnership between the [National Institutes of Health] and dozens of pharmaceutical companies, to find alternative treatments for addiction through non-addictive pain management options," said Andrew Bremberg, director of the administration’s Domestic Policy Council.

  • The president and first lady Melania Trump – who joined the event in New Hampshire – have worked on an ad campaign. Trump said the ads would be "very, very bad" and "pretty unsavory" in order to scare children away from drugs.

Treatment and recovery

  • The White House is asking Congress to formally repeal a rule that banned Medicaid payments to residential treatment facilities with more than six beds.

  • The administration is encouraging states to adopt a drug-monitoring database that can be accessed nationwide.

  • The plan also calls for "screening every federal inmate for opioid addiction at intake, and for those who screen positive, working to facilitate post-release access to treatment at residential reentry centers, and connecting ex-offenders to community treatment services," Bremberg said.

What do you think?

Do you support the Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse? Is anything missing? Should anything be removed? Should Congress repeal the rule banning Medicaid payments to larger treatment facilities? Is there something else Congress should do? Hit Take Action and tell your reps. Then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: Stuart Ritchie / iStock)

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Written by Countable

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(118)
  • Azrael
    03/19/2018
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    As a family that paid the ultimate price for a drug addicted family member I have the right to call BS in this asinine proposal They tried a war on drugs It killed more people than helped Let’s try Portugal’s response Make it all legal Anyone caught abusing, mandatory counseling and addiction therapy They no longer have an issue Trump and sessions want to fill their for profit jails Not on my dime We don’t murder people for dealing drugs, although we may think they deserve it We don’t jail addicts This is third world BS

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  • IllWill
    03/19/2018
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    Does this moron really think this plan is going to work? FYI, the war on drugs has been a failure! Tougher drug laws have not actually brought down illicit drug use. Giving drug dealers the death penalty is practiced in some of the most brutal countries in the world run by dictators. Apparently, that is what Trump wants to be. We should be looking at models that have actually worked such as in Portugal where they decriminalized all drugs and now they have some of the lowest levels of drug use in Europe. Unfortunately, this administration doesn’t care about evidence or facts.

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  • Eric
    03/19/2018
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    This looks like what a child who is mentally stuck in the 1980s, knows nothing about our criminal justice system, knows nothing about sociology, and knows nothing about human nature would come up with.

    Like (69)
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  • Laura
    03/19/2018
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    So, do the pharmaceutical companies and the doctors that doled our all those opioids get the death penalty too?

    Like (66)
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  • prog-feminist
    03/19/2018
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    History has proven that overtly criminalizing drugs and drug use does not help in lessening their usage, it just creates smarter drug users. Reagan's war on drugs did nothing except increase the rate of incarceration, targeting poor neighborhoods which resulted in a disproportionate number of arrests of people of color. I'm not sure what countries Trump is referring in which enforcing a capital punishment for drug dealers lowered national drug usage (I'm quite confident he is making up his own "facts".) In other countries, drug abuse went down when drug related crimes were decriminalized and those suffering from drug addiction could get treatment without the overwhelming fear of being sent to prison for seeking help. We need to work to be a society that deals with drug addiction with empathy; it is the only solution that, at this point, could work.

    Like (42)
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  • UnionTim
    03/19/2018
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    Stop the drug war. Spend money on rehab and education.

    Like (40)
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  • Joane
    03/19/2018
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    Trump yearns to be a dictator! Do not give him this power! NO to the death penalty for drug dealers! This is outrageous!!

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  • Lisa
    03/19/2018
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    This will hit low level dealers and users the hardest and fill our for profit prisons. We should be following in the footsteps of countries like Portugal who have seen great success with decriminalization and treatment. Leave it to this jackass to find the cruelest non-solution to the countries largest crisis!

    Like (37)
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  • Afina
    03/19/2018
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    War on drugs has never worked. We need treatment for addicts, and better economic opportunities for all.

    Like (30)
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  • Robert
    03/19/2018
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    8 out of 10 opioid user start with prescribed medications. Enough opioids are manufactured each year in this country that ever man woman and child in this country could have a 3 week prescription. There are people who truly need these drugs but not as many as manufacturers are producing for. Reducing by only 1/3 over a 3year period shows their interest is in manufactures not people #weak plan

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  • Dara
    03/20/2018
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    Perhaps trump should educate himself about opioid abuse. The majority of opioids are prescribed by doctors that get kickbacks from big pharmaceutical companies that have been pushing these highly addictive drugs. In addition, Americans have to stop asking for pain meds every time they have an ouchie. We need to stop prescribing meds on demand, learn to live with a little pain, and hold pharmaceutical companies accountable. Education funds for drug abuse were cut drastically back in the early 2000’s, reinstate them.

    Like (21)
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  • Andrew
    03/19/2018
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    NO DEATH PENALTY !!!! ALSO REPEAL LAW BLOCKING MEDICAID PAYMENTS FROM LARGER TREATMENT FACILITIES !!! The

    Like (14)
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  • Andrew
    03/19/2018
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    FIGHT THIS BILL UNLESS THE DEATH PENALTY IS REMOVED !!!! LOOK FOR MODELS THAT WORK !!!! PORTUGAL MINIMIZED DRUG ABUSE !!!!

    Like (13)
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  • Jean
    03/20/2018
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    Ugh! The Reagan’s tried this and it didn’t work! They succeeded in jailing over 400,000 people for nonviolent crimes-a disproportionate amount of whom were people of color! Their policies of not handing out clean syringes also contributed to the epidemic of AIDS. You need to learn history or you are doomed to repeat its mistakes! And 90% of the opioids come across the southern border? Did he make that up? A full half the deaths caused by opioids involved prescription medications from the pharmacist! How in the world can any solution be effective when you don’t even understand the context and the history?

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  • Nicole
    03/19/2018
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    This is a bad approach. There are three primary sources for this problem: 1. Big Pharma; 2. Chemical factories, including home-based production; and 3. The underground market. We need to curtail all three, without penalizing those who actually need opioids—I have a friend who is allergic to most painkillers and has severe chronic pain from years of physical abuse. And since humans are prone to making mistakes, including in deciding criminal cases, I cannot support the death penalty. Too often, people on Death Row are exonerated years later.

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  • Truly
    03/19/2018
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    As I’ve stated before, only if this law applies to the pharmaceutical industry that started the problem in the first place as well as any politicians and doctors that took their bribe money to support their interests.

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  • Doug
    03/19/2018
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    This opioid plan sounds as good as any that I have heard, I think it is worth a try to see if it will work, all we have done so far has not worked but we need to keep trying.

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  • Andrew
    03/19/2018
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    The death penalty doesn't deter crime! Drug addiction is a health problem that needs to be fixed with medical solutions. Punishing pushes people further to the fringes of society and makes the problem worse.

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  • Abbi
    03/19/2018
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    Here's my plan, legalize pot, increase funding to prevention and treatment of opioid addiction, and end this money pit we call a drug war! Also end big pharmaceuticals addiction to money by suing the shit out of them and making them quit cold turkey.

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  • John
    03/19/2018
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    No death penalty for any crimes! Spend money on treatment!

    Like (8)
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