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How Can the Trump Administration Better Address the Opioid Crisis?

News stations around the country are covering the opioid crisis, and it’s been a large topic of debate among politicians. The crisis has been building for a long time, but it peaked at new levels a few years ago, gaining widespread coverage and scrutiny by the media. 

Due to new guidelines put forth by the CDC in 2016, opioid prescriptions are decreasing; however, that hasn't much to fix the crisis because synthetic opioids overtook heroin and natural opioids from 2013 to 2016. In 2017, heroin and prescription opioid death rates only remained stable, while synthetic opioid deaths increased by 45%.

Thus physicians have tried to backtrack, reducing opioid prescriptions to patients with addiction. Yet, this typically only leads to further drug use and attraction to synthetic opioids. To manage chronic pain, patients may move on to use illegally acquired and dangerous drugs. These are often easier to acquire than prescription opioids, making this a real concern.

 While President Trump originally promised strong efforts toward the opioid crisis, there has been relatively little done in terms of action. How can the current administration actually take steps toward ending the opioid crisis? It starts with admitting that the steps they've taken thus far have been misguided.

Admittal to a Lack of Change

Politicians often boast of their accomplishments, but it's rare for them to confess their shortcomings. The Trump administration has been quick to point out that the rate in deaths related to opioid abuse has decreased since they came into power, but they may not be able to convincingly take the credit for that quite yet.

While it is true that there has been a decrease in opioid prescriptions and in growth rates of overdose-related deaths since the President was inaugurated, experts often point out that this was happening long before the Trump administration came into power. Notably, they don't see the White House's efforts as the reason for this. Many of them have also pointed out that the plan of action they set forth was disappointedly unclear and did not even meet legal standards.

What the Trump administration has spent a lot of time working on, however, is the border wall. While the President has recently claimed that building the wall at the United State American/Mexican border will stop the flow of drug trafficking and opioids into the country, it's been found that this may actually not do anything new. Experts say that the opioid crisis is being relatively ignored.

Money to Mouth

This has left many asking what it will take for the Presidential administration to actually address the opioid crisis effectively, and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. Most qualified experts believe that the border wall will not actually help as much as the Trump administration is claiming it will.

For instance, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshest face of the democrat party that has captured the attention of the media, compared the border wall funding to the opioid crisis funding. "So, we've got two emergencies, one is treated with an actual action and the other is just to raise awareness," she said, which caused conservative internet users to make comments about her "not understanding the issue." However, the lack of substantial action in regards to the opioid epidemic speaks for itself.

 Thus far, the administration has spent $3 billion spent on the opioid crisis. This amount was largely used for addiction treatment, for which funding is very scarce. This is a good step forward, considering that scarce resources is a major reason why addicts don't seek help. However, despite his rhetoric, these measures don't nearly do enough to remedy the issues at play. 

Instead of using $5 billion on the border wall, the Trump administration could be using that money (and then some) on the opioid crisis. Migrant drug trafficking does not seem to be the main cause of the crisis, but the causes seem to be more internal. The government must start addressing it as such if progress is to be made, and he has the support of many experts on the issue.

Taking Cues From Elsewhere

Even with a technically multi-billion dollar budget put toward the opioid crisis, treatment still isn't widely available for opioid addicts. The issue seems to have been shoved under the rug. This has led state and local governments to take the opioid crisis into their own hands.

 City governments and communities see the effects in how they have had to treat the issues locally, and the cost of life and use of taxpayers' money is often staggering to them. Thus, some municipalities are pursuing lawsuits against Big Pharma, or pharmaceutical companies that are putting these drugs into the market and bribing doctors to prescribe them.

It may also be good to note that currently the American Medical Association, Pennsylvania Medical Society, and Manatt Health are doing a study on state efforts toward the problem. The first set of results, released last December, show that states are increasing their evidence-based treatments on a broad scale. Pennsylvania, in particular, is making it easier to get naloxone, a drug that has prevented thousands of opioid-related overdose deaths.

It's also apparent that, if emergency departments and law enforcement collaborated in order to spread and improve access to treatment, we could make a serious hit against the opioid crisis.

What the Trump administration needs to do is truly acknowledge the costs of lives and funds that the opioid crisis is bringing to the United States and address the problem more directly. Without proper funding, the crisis will remain prevalent. Expanding efforts similar to that of the states onto a federal scale will also turn things around.

However, we have yet to see if this will be the case. How will the Trump administration address the issue further? The results of their efforts thus far have been minuscule, but will further coverage of the epidemic inspire more action? Time will tell, though Trump's critics aren't holding their breath.

Posted by jhamilton at May 17, 2019 11:08 AM
Comments
Comment #443530

Open-borders is part of the problem, because a vast majority (about 50%) of drugs are flowing across the U.S.A./Mexico border (not to mention human trafficing):

Those costs do not include the cost of all crime, nor the tens of thousands of deaths per year due to drug overdoses (about half due to drugs flowing acrose the U.S./Mexico border).
U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths per YEAR:

  • ===== 20,000====40,000====60,000====80,000 DEATHS
  • 2017: ############################ 70,237
  • 2016: ######################### 63,632
  • 2015: ##################
  • 2014: ###############
  • 2013: ##############
  • 2012: ############
  • 2011: ############
  • 2010: ###########
  • 2009: ##########
  • 2008: ##########
  • 2007: #########
  • 2006: ########
  • 2005: ########
  • 2004: ########
  • 2003: #######
  • 2002: #####
  • 2001: ####
  • 2000: ###
  • 1999: ###
Fentanyl: 28,466 overdose deaths
Heroin: 15,482 overdose deaths
Cocaine: 13,942 overdose deaths
Benzodiazepines: 11,537 overdose deaths
Methamphetemine and Psychostimulants: 10,333 overdose deaths
Prescription Opiods and anti-depressants: 13,942 overdose deaths

Open-borders is not helping the situation, not to mention over 2,000 homicides per year (5.5 homicides per day) by non-citizens, $0.75 Billion per day in costs for border security, and approximately $1 Billion per day in net losses due to illegal immigration (and that does not include many other losses and costs; i.e. 30% of everyone in federal prison is a non-citizen).

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in the U.S. from 1945 to 2016:

  • YEAR: 0=====1M===2M===3M===4M===5M===6M===7M===8M===9M===10M===11M===12Million
  • 2018: ########################################################### 11.3M
  • 2017: ########################################################### 11.3M
  • 2016: ########################################################### 11.3M
  • 2015: ######################################################## 11.0M
  • 2014: ########################################################### 11.3M
  • 2013: ########################################################### 11.3M
  • 2012: ###########################################################] 11.4M
  • 2011: ############################################################ 11.5M
  • 2010: ############################################################] 11.6M
  • 2009: ####################################################### 10.8M (recession)
  • 2008: ############################################################] 11.6M
  • 2007: ############################################################# 11.8M
  • 2006: ############################################################ 11.5M
  • 2005: ###################################################### 10.5M
  • 2004: ################################################# 9.3M
  • 2003: ################################################### 9.7M
  • 2002: ################################################## 9.4M
  • 2001: ####################################### 7.8M
  • 2000: ########################################### 8.5M
  • 1999: ##################################### ~7.0M
  • 1998: ################################ ~6.0M
  • 1997: ############################# ~5.5M
  • 1996: ######################### ~5.0M
  • 1995: ####################### ~4.2M
  • 1994: ##################### ~3.9M
  • 1993: ################### ~3.5M
  • 1992: ################# 3.4M
  • 1991: ############### ~2.6M
  • 1990: ############## ~2.1M
  • 1989: #############
  • 1988: ############
  • 1987: ############
  • 1986: ########### 2.1M (1986 Amnesty)
  • 1985: ###########
  • 1984: ########### 2.1M
  • 1983: ###########
  • 1982: ############
  • 1981: #############
  • 1980: ############## 3.0M
  • 1979: #############
  • 1978: ############
  • 1977: ##########
  • 1976: ########
  • 1975: #######
  • 1974: ##### 1.1M
  • 1973: ####
  • 1972: ####
  • 1971: ###
  • 1970: ###
  • 1969: ### 0.54M

A Harvard-Harris Poll (17-to-19-JAN-2018); 980 persons polled (source: www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jan/23/roughly-80-of-all-voters-say-us-needs-secure-borde/ ):
  • 79%: (87%Rep, 79%Ind, 72%Dem): Want Merit Based Immigration
  • 79%: (93%Rep, 80%Ind, 68%Dem): Want Secure Borders
  • 61%: (84%Rep, 64%Ind, 40%Dem): Say Current Border is Inadequate
  • 68%: (78%Rep, 65%Ind, 62%Dem): Want to End the VISA Lottery
  • 54%: (85%Rep, 54%Ind, 30%Dem): Want physical and electronic border barrier
  • 60%: (93%Rep, 80%Ind, 68%Dem): Say NO to DACA Relatives

Posted by: d.a.n at May 17, 2019 11:50 AM
Comment #443531
What the Trump administration has spent a lot of time working on, however, is the border wall. While the President has recently claimed that building the wall at the United State American/Mexican border will stop the flow of drug trafficking and opioids into the country, it’s been found that this may actually not do anything new. Experts say that the opioid crisis is being relatively ignored.
Not true. Half of the drugs listed above are coming across the U.S.A./Mexico border, and those are not the only problems caused by open-borders.

Therefore, better border security will help.
$5 Billion on a wall is 0.014% of the interest on the $22.4 Trillion national debt, and 0.16% of federal revenues.

Why do Democrats act like open-borders and illegal immigration is not a problem ?

Posted by: d.a.n at May 17, 2019 12:09 PM
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