The Check In: The Opioid Epidemic
Opioid Epidemic: President Trump vowed to do everything in his power to fight the opioid epidemic which takes the lives of 174 people each day ravaging communities and ripping families apart. So what has Trump actually done to tackle this issue, and who’s he putting in charge of this enormously important task? It’s time for “The Check In.”
Opioid epidemic: America has about 4% of the world’s population but about 27% of the world’s drug overdose deaths.
For now, opioid addiction is one of those uniquely American problems like type 2 diabetes and adults wearing shirts with Disney characters on them.
The Check In: The Opioid Epidemic
[ Laughter ] “Honey, we’re going to a fancy dinner.” “That’s why I’m wearing my Scrooge McDuck.” [ Laughter ] Though among other promises to fight the opioid epidemic, Trump said he would increase funding to give resources to states that needed it most right away. So how did that go? -Is the federal government doing all it can to combat America’s opioid epidemic? A former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration says no. -We have heard a lot of talk from the administration on this, but we’ve yet to see the President take the kind of serious action that this emergency demands. -It just is a pitiful, pitiful story when it comes to the amount of real federal effort and leadership on the part of the President. -Wow! And he’s saying that on Fox News. That’s what Trump watches to feel good about himself. That’s like if the kid turned into “Mr. Rogers” and Mr. Rogers said, “News flash, snot nose.
I don’t want to be your neighbor. [ Laughter ] How about that?” So the man speaking so bluntly about Trump’s inaction is former Democratic lawmaker Patrick Kennedy, who also happens to be on Trump’s opioid commission and has called it a sham and charade saying, “This and the administration’s other efforts to address the epidemic are tantamount to reshuffling chairs on the Titanic.” But, of course, this isn’t the Titanic. If it were, Trump would have already tried to Billy Zane his way on to a lifeboat. -I have a child! I have a child! -Clear a path here! -Please, I have a child. -[ As Trump ] “His name is Eric.” [ Laughter ] [ As Eric ] “Father, I’m 34!” [ Laughter ] Now, one of the few concrete plans Trump did announce to confront this issue was that the federal government would start a massive advertising campaign to get people, especially children, not to want to take drugs in the first place.
Ugh, we already tried this, and it didn’t work. But of course, that’s not stopping Trump from trying. -There is nothing desirable about drugs. They’re bad. [ Laughter ] -The problem — the problem, of course, is that there is something desirable about drugs. They make you feel great. That’s why we have a huge problem with drug addiction and no problem at all with celery addiction. [ Laughter ] You never hear anyone say, “Yo, man, you got a stalk?” [ Laughter ] And for years, doctors and pharmaceutical companies pushed opioids for everything from root canals to a twisted ankle, and everybody said, “Cool,” because the drugs made them feel great. So we’ll ask you again, Mr. President, how do you prevent addiction? -Maybe by talking to youth and telling them no good, really bad for you in every way. -Do you think anti-drug ads work on Americans? These are the same people who saw a commercial for Tide Pods and thought, “I want to eat that.” [ Laughter ] I’ll put it in my mouth. But I’m sure to lead this important effort, Trump chose someone with experience and impeccable credentials in the field. So let me just take a big sip of water and find out who it is.
-Kellyanne Conway will lead the White House’s effort to combat the opioid problem across the country. -Were you expecting a split take? Because that part of me — that part of me died months ago. [ Laughter ] Reports say Kellyanne isn’t even heeding the advice of actual policy experts of those most affected by this tragedy. Now, before Kellyanne and Trump, tackling this issue had largely been the role of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Under the previous administration, the small office was made up of public health experts and law enforcement who had first-hand experience dealing with this issue, and here’s what it’s been like under Trump. -The Office of National Drug Control Policy, the entity charged with coordinating the federal government’s counter-drug response still does not have a permanent director. -The President is expected to slash the budget out of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. -Guess what — This administration, which talks a big game about opioids just proposed cutting the agency’s budget by 95%.
-That’s right. Last year, the White House allocated about $368 million for the office, and for next year’s budget, they’re only asking for about $17 million. The office trying to stop the opioid epidemic is getting less than Mark Wahlberg got for “Daddy’s Home 2.” [ Laughter ] And just hearing that news, six more people started taking opioids. [ Laughter ] But perhaps we should have seen this coming.
The former Deputy Chief of Staff at ONDCP was Taylor Weyeneth who was only 24 years old. But it’s not just him. According to Politico, among the people working on the public education campaign that Trump promised is Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani’s 32-year-old son who’s a White House public liaison and has no background in drug policy. Well, at least he’s 32. Which, if you’re doing the math, means Giuliani had him when he was 105. [ Laughter ] Now Trump’s budget proposals did ask for additional funding to fight the opioid epidemic, and the Justice Department recently announced that it would go after opioid manufacturers and distributors. Those are positive steps. But at the same time, Trump is trying also trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and slash Medicaid programs that already help people who are addicted. And that is, um — What’s the phrase I’m looking for? -No good.
Really bad. -This has been “The Check In.”
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