Those of us who have friends or family struggling with addiction to opioids have known for quite some time that it’s a dire situation, so President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the so-called opioid crisis is a “national health emergency” felt like a weak and delayed response. Despite public-health crisis designation, Trump won’t offer any additional funding to help deal with the epidemic, although The New York Times reports that the official classification will “allow for some grant money to be used to combat opioid abuse,” to hire specialists, and to “expand telemedicine services” — internet doctors — to rural areas that are lacking in physicians.
Even when he ordered the directive, the comments made by Trump, who has often compared the disease to the alcoholism that ultimately killed his brother Fred, show an alarming lack of understanding of what causes heroin addiction. “This was an idea that I had, where if we can teach young people not to take drugs,” Trump said, “it’s really, really easy not to take them.”
At best, Trump’s underestimation — of both the cost