What a slap in the face to addicts suffering from the opioid epidemic by the President.
You can’t cure an addiction to pain pills with more pills.
Treatment for opioid addiction must be holistic.
President Donald Trump doesn’t get that. The Commander in Chief is preparing to declare the nation’s opioid epidemic a public health emergency. No new funding will be used to combat the drug crisis that is murdering Americans. Essentially, Trump told federal agencies to work with what you got.
With a President who is worth $3.1 billion running the richest country in the world, why is help for suffering addicts a back-burner issue?
Declaring A Public Health Emergency Is Not Enough
Trump’s lack of solid action suggests that he could care less about addiction.
In 2016, opioids were the leading cause of drug-related death in America. Addiction destroys lives. With extra funding, a lot of those deaths could be preventable. Couldn’t Donald Trump do more for the addict who still suffers?
The US Secretary of Health, Eric Hargan, will use the Public Health Services Act to force federal agencies to use more of their budget for the opioid epidemic. No new money is going towards combating the crisis.
That’s like your kid coming home from school with a broken leg. Instead of rushing him to the hospital, you decide to put a band-aid on the protruding bone. Why? Well, because you didn’t plan for the injury to happen.
All Trump is doing is telling federal agencies, like the CDC and HRSA, to move money around. If a few extra bills help to prevent overdoses, then hey, hooray for him. That’s another vote come reelection. Without new funding, federal health agencies are spending less on other issues in order to help opioid addicts.
An Emergency is An Emergency, Right?
Not all emergencies are created equal. Declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency does little to help addicts. In fact, this course of action could make other health issues worse. It’s pointless. Let me explain why.
Let’s say you have $100 for the week. You plan to spend $20 on Dunkin Donuts, another $40 on your cell phone bill, $10 on prescriptions from CVS, and the rest on taking your kids out to eat for making honor roll. Okay, so your partner comes home sick from work — husband, wife, whatever. It turns out that he or she is allergic to mold. Your partner needs allergy medicine. So, instead of taking your kids out to eat, you spend that $30 on Claritin.
Now in that hypothetical situation, let’s say you make $700 a week. You could increase your spending for that week to account for your partner’s sickness. That way your kids don’t suffer. You make enough money to do so, right?
The United States has enough money to address addiction, but our President has other priorities. Under a public health emergency, our federal agencies will stop spending money on important health issues to focus their funds on the opioid epidemic. Trump is making health agencies reallocate the money they already have to “solve” the opioid epidemic.
Wouldn’t A National Emergency Fight The Opioid Epidemic Better?
Trump is playing games. He is compounding health issues. In regards to the opioid epidemic, he says one thing, but does another.
Trump told reporters that he plans to declare a National State of Emergency, but his instructions to the Secretary of Health belie his intent. If Trump intended to do what he says, Eric Hagan would use the Stafford Act or the National Emergencies Act to give aid to drug addicts. These two pieces of legislation would enable the federal government to pay for better services for drug addicts.
Instead, Trump is using an emergency fund with only $57,000 in it. That’s nothing when experts believe that billions are needed to get the opioid epidemic under control.
Holistic Treatment Works, Telemedicine Won’t
Trump’s solution is more pills. We already know that won’t work.
Telemedicine is a system in which drug addicts can secure prescriptions over the phone for new pills. It allows people in remote, rural areas access to medicines that will help curb their craving. These pills help addicts get off of harder opioids like fentanyl and heroin, but function similarly to Methadone and Suboxone. Yes, it’s a step in the right direction. But medication alone will not cure addiction.
For some addicts, drugs like Methadone and Suboxone can be just as difficult to deal with as less regulated substances.
People who suffer from addiction need a holistic approach to battle their demons. Addiction is more than a physical issue. Sure, opiates and opioids have one of the toughest physical withdraws imaginable. But if Trump does not provide funding that allows for the hiring of social workers, therapists, and counselors, he is setting up drug addicts to fail.
People suffering from addiction need to address their underlying issues to successfully combat addiction. These underlying issues are emotional and cognitive, not merely physical. Pills don’t fix people, people fix people.
More About Politics, Less About Recovery
Our President believes that shoving more pills down our throats will shut us up. He doesn’t understand the nature of addiction.
Sure, Trump met with a few addicts during his campaign. It was a cute gesture, really. On television, it looked like he cared about drug addicts.
But, he doesn’t.
His actions show that he is only paying lip service to the opioid epidemic. Trump is highlighting the crisis for political clout instead of actually doing something about it.
Instead of buying another building, why not toss your brother a bone?