Opioid Plan Called 'Band-Aid on Gunshot Wound': Trump's New and Unimproved War on Drugs Predicted to Fail

“There’s a danger that this president will use an emergency declaration as an excuse to ratchet up the war on drugs.”
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With remarks immediately slammed as a collection of recycled Reagan-era “just say no” tropes and war on drugs rhetoric, President Donald Trump officially declared America’s opioid epidemic a “public health emergency”—a designation accompanied by proposals critics said are akin to “putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.”

“President Trump’s declaration today amounts to a drop in the bucket compared to what the White House and Congress should be delivering to address this crisis,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “We need to end drug criminalization and stop incarcerating people who are struggling.”

Ahead of Trump’s speech, reports emerged that the president would not declare the epidemic a national emergency as he had previously promised. Doing so would have “immediately unlocked billions of dollars of federal money.” Instead, no new federal funds will be allocated to combat the crisis that kills tens of thousands of Americans a year.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, argued in a statement following the presidents remarks that without any new funds, Trump’s “plan” is “woefully inadequate to address the challenges we face.”