President Donald Trump has made good on his pledge to “stop the opioid epidemic” in his first year in office, but the opioid crisis has made it far harder to achieve that goal.
The opioid crisis is not the first time that Trump has been accused of a “fake epidemic.”
The president has also been accused by the public and by lawmakers of “covering up” the problem.
But in a rare, bipartisan moment, lawmakers have come together to finally take action, enacting legislation to crack down on the opioid problem.
In the wake of Trump’s first year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the number of people dying from opioids in the United States more than doubled, from 1.7 million in the first quarter of 2018 to more than 5.4 million in March 2019.
That spike in overdose deaths is due to a rise in overdose prevention programs, increased use of Narcan, and increased availability of prescription opioids.
The CDC reported that “there are now approximately 3,500 opioid overdose deaths in the U.S., compared with 2,800 deaths in 2020 and 1,800 in 2021.”
The CDC also said that the increase in overdoses “was a result of the number and quality of opioid-related health care services, as well as the number, quality and availability of fentanyl- and methadone-based treatments.”
But while Trump has called the opioid addiction epidemic a “crisis,” he has been less than precise about exactly how he intends to solve it.
As of March 2018, Trump had yet to propose legislation that would reduce the number or quality of opioids prescribed, and he has not made any specific proposals to end the “war on drugs.”
Trump has called for the “end of drug prohibition and the beginning of a national opioid crisis,” but has not yet proposed a specific legislative fix.
In his first press conference following the coronavirus pandemic, Trump said, “We’re going to get to the bottom of it, we’re going, we’ll get to some of the things, we’ve got to get it done.”
That hasn’t been the case.
While Trump has not taken any steps to address the opioid emergency, the White House has been pushing a number of bills that would increase access to prescription opioids and make it easier for people to access them.
The most notable of these bills was the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., on March 16.
The bill would provide funding to states and the federal government for prescription drug abuse prevention programs.
In February 2018, the CDC released a report showing that prescription opioid use had nearly tripled in 2018.
According to the CDC, “Prescription opioid use increased by 5 percent, with the largest increases among whites, Latinos, African Americans, and those with income below $40,000.
Overdose deaths from opioid overdose increased by 7 percent.”
The report also found that the majority of people who have died from an opioid overdose have died because they were prescribed an opioid for pain, not because they overdosed.