A Bitter Pill: Remember when Donald Trump was going to solve the opioid crisis? It was one of the few promises he made that we actually found believable. After all, “fewer people should die from prescription drugs” is a pretty easy policy to get behind. And when you consider that Trump’s brother Freddy suffered and ultimately died from substance abuse– alcohol, specifically- you could almost see a future where The Donald could reconnect with humanity. That on this issue, maybe only this issue, he could actually make policy based on life experiences that the rest of us have. Alcoholism and prescription opioid abuse aren’t exactly the same, obviously, but they’re close enough together that he maybe could relate. Maybe he could do right by the people of this country instead of selling them out to the highest bidder.
My condolences to anyone who cast their vote based on that hope.
National Emergency: To tackle the problem, Trump assembled a commission to investigate the opioid crisis and recommend a course of action. Despite being late with their report twice, his commission eventually told him that the crisis is so severe he ought to declare a national emergency. How bad is it, you ask? 500,000 people have died from drug overdoses between 2010 and 2015. For reference, 407,000 US soldiers died in World War II. 3,412 Americans have died as a result of terrorism, either overseas or abroad, between 2001 and 2014; over 440,000 died during that same period from gun violence.
Really, wrap your head around that. Ours is a preeminently violent country, but in less than half the amount of time mentioned above, opioid and drug overdoses killed 113% more people than gun violence. Surely, surely President Trump would declare a national emergency, to help cut the red tape and get resources to the health services that need them!
Official Statement: Tom Price, Secretary of Health & Human Services, said this yesterday:
“We believe that at this point, the resources that we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crises can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency,” Price said, “although all things are on the table for the president.”
I don’t even know what to say to that. Its just another in a seemingly endless line of stunning disconnects that this Administration suffers from, but its the people that will suffer as a result of this decision. And this is something that Trump could have done independent of Congress! He doesn’t need to worry about a vote in the Senate, or convincing the Freedom Caucus in the House. He doesn’t need to convince Democrats anywhere to go along with this. He says “This is a national emergency”, and it is. Boom. End of discussion. There is no conceivable reason why he shouldn’t do this- except that, in his heart of hearts, he doesn’t give a single shit about the people of this country, plain and simple. The only explanation is malicious, sociopathic apathy.
Again, my heart goes out to the people that voted for him on this issue. I thought he could at least be counted on to come through for you, of all people.
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