Friday, February 09, 2018

A Dual Scourge: Prescription Drugs And Con-Man Donald J. Trumpanzee


A few years ago the CDC reported that the 10 highest prescribing states for narcotic painkillers are in the South, with Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia leading the nation. Last year it was reported that unscrupulous drug manufacturers and distributors have pumped hundreds of millions of prescription opioids into small-town West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, encouraging drug addiction. These communities have something in common besides rampant drug use and drug overdoses: these communities took Trump at his word when he said he would make their problem a top priority of his administration if they elected him-- and they helped do just that. Of the 100 counties in the U.S. addicted to prescription drugs, 99 were Trump counties-- the only one that wasn't being an Indian reservation. In fact, study after study has shown that the same misery and hopelessness that fuels prescription drug abuse fuels support for Trump, authoritarianism and fascism.

This week, NPR reported that Trump and his regime have decided not to emphasize treatment but to go back to the same old GOP prescription: the pointless, failed war on drugs. Greg Allen reported that "more than three months after President Trump declared the nation's opioid crisis a public health emergency, activists and healthcare providers say they're still waiting for some other action" while the regime has "given no signs it's developing a comprehensive strategy to address an epidemic that claims more than 115 lives every day. The President now says to combat opioids he's focused on enforcement, not treatment."
Trump spent just over a minute of his 80-minute State of the Union address talking about opioids. In a speech this week in Cincinnati, he had a few more comments. The opioid epidemic, he said, "has never been worse. People form blue ribbon committees. They do everything they can. And frankly, I have a different take on it. My take is you have to get really, really tough, really mean with the drug pushers and the drug dealers."

The President's mention of "blue ribbon committees" sounds like a slam on one he convened last year, chaired by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie-- the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The commission issued more than 50 recommendations. The administration has so far followed up on just a few of those recommendations.

Some officials and care providers who work on the frontlines of the opioid crisis, however, are scathing about what they see as a lack of action from the White House. Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who served on the White House opioid commission, says he's "incredulous" that, after declaring a public health emergency in October, the President still hasn't requested any money from Congress to combat the epidemic.

"I mean this is just a mental health crisis of the first order," Kennedy says, "and this administration has done nothing."

...Here are things critics point out the administration hasn't done:
There is still no head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In October, Trump's nominee to the position, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., withdrew his name after reports linked him with a bill that limited the DEA's ability to investigate abuses by opioid manufacturers and distributors.
President Trump still hasn't nominated anyone to head the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The administration hasn't asked Congress for any new funding to address the opioid epidemic.
Roughly 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, and data from the CDC indicates deaths are rising. Kennedy says what's needed is a coordinated federal response similar to the one in the mid-1990s-- when the U.S. spent $24 billion a year to address the HIV/AIDS crisis.

"We're talking about a major league crisis and they're taking credit for little things, while the whole country is burning down," Kennedy says.

Instead of a big boost in funding, the Trump administration is focused, in many cases, on cutting spending.

In the 2018 budget, the President recommended cutting the Office of National Drug Control Policy budget by 95 percent, and may do so again this year.

"It's very hard to make sense of," says Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford and former policy adviser to the drug czar's office in the Obama administration. "I mean, it's like closing a fire station in the middle of a wildfire."

A law signed by President Obama that designated a billion dollars to help states combat opioids runs out of money this year. Humphreys has seen no sign President Trump intends to ask Congress to renew that funding.

"The 2018 budget had a $400 million cut to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration which is the lead agency that funds treatment in the United States," Humphreys says. "So, the administration's impulse seems to be not to spend more — in fact to spend less."

The White House is preparing to act on one of the recommendations of its opioid commission-- that it launch a campaign to educate the public, especially young people, on the dangers of opioids. The campaign is being developed not by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, but by a team in the White House led by Kellyanne Conway.
Goal ThermometerAnd as far as helping prescription drug addicts with marijuana, Trump seems to be allowing Jeff Sessions to go on a jihad against legal medical marijuana, something progressive Democrats-- though not elderly establishment Democrats-- are ready to go to war over, as we saw yesterday. If you would like to help the campaigns of the progressive Democrats campaigning on a platform that includes legalization of marijuana, Blue America has a page dedicated to that specifically which can be accessed by clicking on the ActBlue Green Wave thermometer on the right. Remember, even the latest poll from Fox News found a record number of voters nationally favoring legalization. The poll shows 59% of voters in support of legalizing marijuana, which is up from 51% in 2015, and 46% in 2013 (the first time the poll ever addressed the issue). Only 26% favored making "smoking marijuana" legal in 2001. Today just 32% of voters agree with right-wing crackpot and KKK supporter Jeff Sessions that marijuana should be illegal, down from 49% in 2013.

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At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the difference between street drugs and Big Pharma? Both have "products" which can kill you, and both want to keep you strung out so that you will come back for more.

So what is the difference? Big Pharma's drugs are legal, because long ago, they bought enough politicians to pass a law or several and make the competition's product illegal.

And that's how it is with the Best Government That Corporate Money Can

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything tracks back to VEEEERY STUUUUPID FUUUUCKING VOOOOTERS. Where they are plentiful (um, where are they NOT plentiful?), they elect stupid and evil reps who ratfuck them regularly for money and giggles.

Rs do it without lube.
Sometimes, the Ds still use lube.

Rhetorical question: Who is dumber; R voters (they overtly vote for their own ratfucking sans lube -- Kansas), or D voters who still think they are voting for a party that once, long ago, passed the New Deal and Great Society (but who, since, have passed glba, cfma, xxftas, deregs and refused to enact any of the 2009 mandate)?


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