Trump Doesn’t Seem To Be Talking About Only Killing Drug Kingpins, If You Listen To Him Closely…
The White House has spun a neat little archetype: “high-volume traffickers”
And mainstream media has been going along with this characterization when they discuss the President’s demand that the death penalty be included in any legislation to address the opioid crisis.
But if you listen to the President’s actual words, that doesn’t seem to describe exactly who he’s talking about. Here’s a direct quote about the kind of drug dealer Trump wants to kill, from a speech he just gave in New Hampshire, which has one of the highest rates of OD deaths in the country:
That’s not a description of only the biggest of the big-time kingpins.
Also curiously, Trump seems to view the antithesis of rounding up and killing drug dealers as forming “blue ribbon panels where everybody gets a medal”. What?
Trump’s a complete supply-sider on this too. Even though the White House’s own plan is heavy on treatment and prevention, Trump keeps circling back to building walls, blaming foreigners (China and Mexico specifically), and putting people to death. Another big pillar to his plan is cutting opioid prescriptions by 1/3, a supply-side solution which could limit access to people with chronic pain who really need them.
There are some ideas in the White House’s plan too aimed at reducing demand; some good ones: it’s just Trump doesn’t talk about them very much. For instance, making it easier for addicts to get inpatient care. Or creating a task force within the Justice Department to crack down on internet sales of opioids.
One thing missing from the White House proposal right now is how to pay for most of it. 64,000 Americans died from drug ODs in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control, making it the leading cause of death for people under 50.