President Vows to Win Fight Against Opioids, Diverges from Opioid Commission Recommendations
In his remarks, delivered at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey to a gathering of health officials and representatives of the president’s administration, President Trump stated that, “Strong law enforcement is absolutely vital to having a drug-free society.”
Consistent with his administration’s recent policy decisions relating to drug policy, President Trump placed much of the emphasis on increased law enforcement initiatives and drug abstinence education.
“The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place,” according to President Trump, echoing the popular ‘just say no’ mantra prevalent during the 1980’s. “So if we can keep them from going on and maybe by talking to youth and telling them: ‘No good, really bad for you in every way.’”
Trump also criticized the Obama administration for playing a role in worsening the crisis, stating, “At the end of 2016, there were 23% fewer federal prosecutions than in 2011, so they looked at this surge and they let it go by. We're not letting it go by.”
Late last month, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, formed by the White House and led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, issued its recommendations for combating the opioid crisis, notably highlighting health-based approaches, rather than law enforcement-based approaches.
The suggestions within the commission’s interim report include increasing treatment capacity through Medicaid, prescriber education initiatives, the establishment of a fund to assist with Medication-Assisted Treatment, changes to patient privacy laws, better tracking of prescription information, and a call for passage of a bill to ensure “health plans cannot impose less favorable benefits for mental health and substance use diagnoses verses physical health diagnoses.”
The commission also suggested the declaration of a national emergency, noting that “with approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
The administration has rejected the idea of declaring a national emergency, however.
According to 2015 statistics, 142 Americans die every day of drug overdoses, but according to the Washington Post, “new federal data released early Tuesday signaled that the average daily toll is up significantly.”
Posted in General News