A staggering tens of thousands of Americans have died in recent years from overdoses of prescription pain medications and illegal heroin. In 2015 alone, more than 33,000 people across the nation perished from opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Now, President Trump has been briefed on what many are called an ‘opioid epidemic’ and he offered comments afterwards from Bedminster, New Jersey.
“The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place,” Trump said, as reported by Bloomberg. “If they don’t start, they won’t have a problem. If they do start, it’s awfully tough to get off. So if we can keep them from going on and maybe by talking to youth and telling them: ‘No good, really bad for you in every way.’ But if they don’t start, it will never be a problem.”
Trump also called for more prosecutions of drug dealers and said aggressive policing of U.S. borders was needed to curb the flow of opioids and heroin from other countries.
Following Trump’s comments, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told reporters that the administration was developing a comprehensive strategy to present to the president.
Some, including a White House commission appointed by Trump, want the president to declare opioid addiction a national emergency, which would give the administration additional powers and funding. But so far, Trump has failed to do so.
According to Price, the administration can effectively address the opioid crisis without declaring a national emergency.