When voters elected Donald Trump, they knew that he lacked governing experience. But many felt an outsider was needed to shake up a failed status quo. The calculation was especially understandable for folks hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. Under the status quo, they saw addiction and death ravaging their communities.
Why wouldn’t they favor radical change?
But President Trump hasn’t brought an outsider’s perspective to the opiate crisis. He hasn’t challenged the entrenched assumptions of career politicians in Washington, D.C., or proposed sweeping changes to America’s approach to narcotics.
Instead, he convened a panel to study the matter, then announced he is doubling down on “law and order.” He promised an increase in federal drug prosecutions and longer sentences for convicts. Is there anything more Washington, D.C., than doubling down on the War on Drugs? I’ve criticized literally every president since Nixon for extending this failure. A portion of the public trusted Trump to solve this crisis. And all he has to offer is weak appeals to policies that have failed for six decades.
“President Donald Trump on Tuesday vowed his administration would beat the opioid epidemic by beefing up law enforcement and strengthening security on the southern border to stop illegal drugs from entering the country,” Politico reports. “Trump, joined in New Jersey by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and other administration officials, emphasized a tough law-and-order approach, rather than new treatment or social programs, as the White House's primary strategy for halting an epidemic that kills 142 Americans every day, according to federal statistics.”