Opioid addiction prevention was one of the primary campaign issues for Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election. He went from town to town, some of which were at the very heart of the problem, touting plans to implement real reforms, however ambiguous they might have been at that moment. After a few signals of peripheral effort, including the formation of an exploratory committee and the ceremonial declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency, the world got its first glimpse of concrete opioid prevention policy from the current White House. Like every other policy decision from the Trump Administration, the plan has its supporters and detractors.
What’s In the Plan?
One of the most glaring shortcomings of President Trump’s plan is his call for execution of certain drug dealers. These draconian measures; however, are tempered with sensible and entirely reasonable calls for expansion of access to treatment and further oversight of prescription practices by physicians. The President also called for the expansion of programs that give certain offenders the option of treatment over incarceration, an approach that has had considerable success in many select communities. Some of the critics of the President’s speech, and his entire approach to opioid addiction prevention, is the lack of federal funding to back up his aspirations.
Striking the Right Balance?
The President’s proposed combination, however front-loaded on the enforcement end, is largely what experts and stakeholders have been clamoring for in their effort to bolster opioid addiction prevention. The rhetoric; however, must be met with adequate institutional resources. Combatting opioid addiction takes planning, effort and community involvement; but it also takes money to put this planning and elbow-grease into action. As of now, there’s no telling whether the Administration is ready to commit these resources or how long it will take to deploy them.