Trump Has a Public Policy Idea

He may not be able to pass a single piece of meaningful legislation, but Trump thinks he has stumbled on the secret to solving the opioid crisis, and it’s truly ingenious: Tell kids that doing drugs is bad. Because “just say no” worked so well for Nancy Reagan.

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On Tuesday afternoon, President Trump attended a briefing, held at his New Jersey golf club, on the ever-worsening opioid crisis in the U.S., which is killing nearly 150 people every day. He emerged from the briefing with two ideas for combating the epidemic: Telling young people that opioids are bad and strengthening the war on drugs.

“The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place,” Trump said after the meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Richard Baum, the acting director of the White House office of National Drug Control Policy. “If they don’t start, they won’t have a problem. If they do start, it’s awfully tough to get off. So if we can keep them from going on and maybe by talking to youth and telling them: ‘No good, really bad for you in every way.’”

Oh my god, that’s brilliant! Why didn’t anyone think of that before? “Drugs are bad, mmmkay.” That’ll solve the problem completely. Just like telling Trump not to grope women against their will would end that practice. And telling him not to cheat on his current wife with his next one would have solved that problem completely. Just like all the people around him telling him to stop popping off every damn fool thought that pops into his head on Twitter has worked so well.

But wait, we’re talking about opioids here, painkillers prescribed by a doctor. When someone has a condition that causes a great deal of pain — kidney stones, major surgeries, broken bones, that kind of totally routine thing — they need painkillers. Are you going to tell them that using legally prescribed medications to help with their pain, given to them by their doctor, is bad and they shouldn’t do it? Painkilling opioids are not “bad for you in every way.” Legally prescribed for conditions where they are entirely justified, they are, in fact, very good for you, even necessary.

It’s opioid madness.

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