Thomas Gallatin / March 20, 2018

Trump Touts Plan to Combat Opioid Epidemic

The president’s three-pronged approach shows the nation he is serious about tackling the problem.

President Donald Trump on Monday announced his plan for fighting the nation’s growing opioid epidemic. Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire, a state plagued with the second highest rate of opioid overdose deaths, Trump declared, “This scourge of drug addiction in America will stop. It will stop. Every day, 116 Americans die from an opioid-related overdose. Failure is not an option. Addiction is not our future. … I want to win this battle. I don’t want to leave at the end of seven years and still have this problem.”

Trump’s plan entails a three-pronged approach that seeks to address the illegal selling and distribution of opioids, further expand addiction recovery programs and focus on safer medical prescription practices along with the development of newer pain-relief drugs that don’t hold the same addictive potential as opioids. The plan would also work for prison reform, focusing on rehab programs for individuals whose drug addiction led to their imprisonment, while at the same time punishing more severely those responsible for dealing drugs.

Hudson Institute Senior Fellow David Murray welcomed the plan, saying, “In many respects, the plan is not novel. It’s a restoration. This used to be the boundaries and pillars of standard American drug policy, what they’ve brought back together in this statement and plan.” Murray criticized Barack Obama’s federal drug policy as unbalanced. But he said that Trump’s plan is a return to a policy that “was a balanced strategy, that wove together the strengths of prevention, treatment, supply reduction, organizational attacks with the criminal justice system, and international partnerships.”

Regardless of the merits of Trump’s policy plan, the mainstream media fixated on what amounts to a typical Trumpian hyperbolic comment. In touting the part of his policy that seeks to get tough on drug trafficking, Trump said that he was in favor of the “death penalty for drug dealers.” While much of the MSM is wringing their hands over this, the actually policy plan does not call for any changes to the nation’s current legal system. This is another classic example of Trump identifying the problem and letting Americans know that he is serious about dealing with it. His rhetorical tool connects with people quickly on an emotive basis, and it effectively calls attention to a pressing issue. Now if we can all get serious about the actual problem…

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