Manchester Community College will be the venue at which President Trump unveils a new proposal for dealing with the American opioid epidemic. Supporters and critics alike have been clamoring for the President to articulate a comprehensive and clear policy regarding this public health issue that killed an unprecedented 53,000-plus Americans in 2016. The President has chosen New Hampshire to unveil his proposal, perhaps because the state has proven to be the northeastern cradle of opioid overdose. New Hampshire ranks number two in the nation, behind West Virginia, for the number of opioid-related deaths relative to its population and number one for fentanyl deaths.
What Should Be Expected?
Addressing the opioid epidemic has been among the President’s signature campaign promises, and one on which he seemed to be delivering when he assembled an investigatory commission headed up by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Since the commission issued their report, however, we’ve seen little definitive action taken to address the roots of the issue. What we have seen are glimpses signaling a harder-line, law-and-order approach to dealing with offenders. Stakeholders who are invested in resolving the opioid epidemic will undoubtedly be interested in hearing what treatment-focused solutions the President has come up with and how he will make care more accessible.
What Is Needed?
It is the hope of everyone that the President’s impending policy will address every area of the opioid epidemic, including supply-chain issues like over-prescription; community issues like street-level diversion and sales; and treatment issues like expansion of life-saving care resources. This is a problem that extends well beyond the “Just Say No” paradigm and needs to be addressed from all relevant angles. Those who have had their lives or families impacted by the opioid epidemic understand know the diverse origins of this disease and that it could happen to anyone. The President will make his remarks at around 2:30 on March 19.