Politics

#26. @realDonaldTrump How does your administration plan to combat the opioid epidemic? #100Days100Qs

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A sign marks the entrance to the Neonatal Therapeutic Unit at Cabell Huntington Hospital, where staff members have acted to treat an alarming number of drug-dependent newborns, in Huntington, West Virginia, October 19, 2015.

Credit:

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Trump, how does your administration plan to combat the opioid epidemic?

In 2015, more than 30,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses — a figure that surpassed gun-related deaths for the first time in recent history.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2000 and 2014, the United States saw a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids. In all, the CDC finds that heroin overdose death rates increased by 26 percent from 2013 to 2014, and have more than tripled since 2010.

Some studies suggest that President Trump’s success may be intimately linked to the opioid epidemic in the United States. According to Pennsylvania State University, “recent analyses suggest a relationship between Trump support and opiate overdoses in key states and provide potential explanations for why Trump received so much support in America’s new post-industrial ‘heroin beltway.’”

Furthermore, an analysis from historian Kathleen Frydl finds that many key counties in Ohio and Pennsylvania that flipped from Democrat to Republican during the 2016 election have been heavily affected by America's opioid crisis.

On Thursday, the president claimed that a wall along the US-Mexico border was necessary to keep cartel influence and drugs away from America (video below), but Sam Quinones, the author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” warns that a border wall won’t keep heroin out of the United States.

So, Mr. President, the question is, if the wall won’t stop the opioid epidemic, what is your plan to fight this crisis, which is affecting so many of your core constituents?

If you’d like answers to that question too, click here to tweet the president — we’re hoping you can help us get his attention. A special thanks to Shawn Zamani for first posing this question on Twitter.

Over President Donald Trump's roughly first 100 days, we'll be asking him questions that our audience wants answers to. Join the project by tweeting this question to @realDonaldTrump with the hashtag #100Days100Qs. See more of our questions at pri.org/100questions.