The Trump administration continues to pretend it cares about the opioid epidemic but refuses to take any kind of meaningful action to combat it. It’s nothing but a talking point for the president, who often uses the topic to pivot to rants about his absurd border wall.
Trump claims that narcotics from south of the border are the cause of the widespread drug addiction in the United States. To hear him tell it, Mexico is the sole problem. In reality, one of the biggest causes for the current opioid problem is the deluge of prescription painkillers unleashed by big pharmaceutical companies, who have been exposed for participating in a grand conspiracy to over-prescribe dangerous opioids for people who don’t need them. Patients get hooked on things like oxycontin and then switch to cheaper drugs like heroin when they run out.
This basic fact doesn’t fit Trump’s racist, anti-Mexican agenda, so he chooses to ignore it. That, in turn, leads to him suggesting solutions that are ill-conceived and won’t work like the wall and his horrifying suggestion that drug dealers be given the death penalty.
Now, another member of Trump’s circle is touting an even more ridiculous solution. Former Trump campaign manager and current Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has suggested that the solution for getting kids to avoid drugs is to tell them to eat ice cream or a single french fry.
During an appearance today with HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Department of Justice spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores, Conway discussed the opioid fentanyl. Demonstrating once again that she is a being completely lacking in compassion or tack, she made light of drug addiction and also got in a dig at college students.
“On our college campuses, your folks are reading the labels, won’t put any sugar in their body, they don’t eat carbs anymore, and they’re very, very fastidious about what goes into their body — and then you buy a street drug for $5 or $10 and it’s laced with fentanyl, and that’s it. My short advice is, as somebody double your age, eat the ice cream, have the French fry, don’t buy the street drug,” she said, according to MarketWatch.
The comments are callous, ludicrous, and emblematic of just how unseriously the Trump administration is taking this urgent problem. Conway should be ashamed of herself. The opioid epidemic is a complex issue that devastates families all across America on a daily basis. To glibly suggest that the solution is for young people to stop eating healthy and make sugary and processed their vices instead of drug use is inconsiderate.
Americans deserve leaders that have the courage and intellect to confront the serious problems. Conway clearly lacks both.
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