The White House addressed the opioid epidemic currently plaguing the country Friday, claiming a border wall and tougher enforcement will help stem the flow of drugs.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer fielded a Skype question on opioid abuse during the press briefing Friday and how President Donald Trump plans on tackling the rapidly deteriorating situation. Opioids claimed a record number of lives in 2015, eclipsing deaths in auto accidents and contributing to the first drop in U.S. life expectancy since 1993.
“One thing beyond the health issue is to make sure we are looking at border issues, and the flow of heroin through the southern border,” Spicer said Friday, adding that tougher border policies will “go a long way to stem the flow of illegal drugs across the border.”
Spicer said a more specific action plan is expected once Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, is confirmed.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, made similar comments Jan. 27, arguing border security is key to fighting drug trafficking in the U.S.
“Well they don’t want it, Gayle, because they want to continue to allow people and I assume drugs, since they’re not doing much to stop that, pouring over our borders,” Conway told Gayle King on “CBS This Morning.”
Critics strongly disagree with this assertion, maintaining the best way to combat rising opioid and general drug trafficking is with further domestic legalization and regulation. Health groups specifically cite marijuana, which preliminary research suggests can help treat opioid addiction.
Opioids account for roughly 63 percent of drug fatalities, which claimed 52,404 lives in the U.S. in 2015.
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