Donald Trump’s own conclusion about the opioid epidemic puts a new spin on his commentary from earlier this week. The president, who predicted on Tuesday that cold weather and weather forecasts will cause “a spike in the abuse of Opioids,” recently predicted a similar spike this winter, but the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee questions how his prediction squares with the real numbers.
“They’re on fire,” Trump said in a phone interview on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “You know why? Why is it getting so much more publicity? Because the cold weather. I mean, you look at this as the war on drugs. If it wasn’t the cold weather and it wasn’t the storms, it wouldn’t be getting as much attention.”
Senator Lamar Alexander said he heard that same prediction from multiple doctors in Nashville. “The president’s made a lot of statements on this, so I spoke to multiple doctors and said, ‘This is what you’re saying,’” Alexander told The Hill. “They said because we have a lot of foot traffic and people going to emergency rooms and that’s where the epidemic is at.”
The news comes as the state of Tennessee announced a massive statewide drug overdose prevention and outreach program that will initially cost $11 million. The United States Senate is also considering a proposal to increase funding in the pipeline for the Drug Enforcement Administration. But the FBI is also investigating TBI agents for allegedly bullying and mocking drug dealers and using confidential informants.
Trump has frequently cited his treatment of the opioid crisis in terms of his body of policy experience and stated lack of experience as Hillary Clinton’s temperament, but experts say that the administration’s silence on this issue is reflective of the highly partisan nature of the political battle over the epidemic.
“I think there is obviously a lot of tension in the administration about the opioid epidemic,” Dr. Halina Manieri, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told The Hill.
Trump’s bipartisan anxiety in part stems from the administration’s low scientific credibility on opioids, according to a report from Bloomberg. Trump reportedly sought advice from senior administration officials on the subject and was repeatedly informed that this issue had been dealt with by other administrations, including his own. His first actions were no more than removing federal provisions against prescription drug diversion and mimicking (without outright approving) strategies like former President Barack Obama’s former opioid task force to help curb the crisis.
Read the full story at The Hill.
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