President Trump’s Misguided Opioid Plan Would Increase Devastation

Plan focuses on failed law enforcement strategies and demonization of immigrants rather than evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery services

Statement of Alice Dembner, Community Catalyst program director for substance use disorders and justice-involved populations, on President Trump’s Opioid Plan

(BOSTON, MA) -- “President Trump’s long-awaited opioid plan and his announcement earlier this week in New Hampshire, focuses inordinately on failed law enforcement strategies, discredited fear-based prevention strategies, and erroneous demonization of immigrants. Our nation needs a bold plan to address the addiction ravaging our nation, but much of Trump’s plan would waste taxpayer funds on strategies that would increase devastation, not reduce it. Particularly horrifying is Trump’s plan to seek the death penalty for drug dealers and his blaming of our homegrown overdose crisis on immigrants and sanctuary cities.

“Many law enforcement officials have loudly proclaimed that we cannot arrest our way out of this addiction crisis. Our government must also stop promoting punitive policies and practices that disproportionately target people of color. Instead, we need more evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery services for everyone who needs them.

“Trump’s plan does include limited efforts to improve treatment and recovery supports, but at the same time his administration continues to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, which provide life-saving health services to fight addiction and other illnesses. His plan recognizes the need for prevention education, but seeks to revive failed scare tactics.

“Only by addressing addiction as a public health issue, and not a criminal issue, can we begin to tackle our national crisis of substance use disorders and overdose deaths.”

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About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

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