In many ways, Donald Trump has demonstrated great deal of optimism about things that are admittedly complex, and also impossible to regulate, like the use of opioids, pot and nuclear weapons. If he can do it, this column argues, why not work with the pharmaceutical industry to do it with opioids? If the Trump administration can do it for the opioid epidemic, should it not be able to do it for another epidemic — the one that ravages America’s mental health patients?
Trump has taken a cursory, soft touch approach to a scourge that has ravaged the lives of millions and, worse, has contributed to the crisis of mass shootings. His plan is unclear, but it appears to want to send a lone-wolf approach, ignoring the network of treatment centers that hundreds of thousands have chosen to form to resist the opioid epidemic. How would that approach be any different from the approach used during the opioid crisis that has so far failed? An administration trying to slow down the opioid crisis would be smart to develop a wholesale, more robust treatment solution rather than abandon public programs or relying on the rare, tough-on-crime approach and misguided messages about the dangers of addiction in favor of free enterprise and private industry.