Trump’s urgency to end the opioid crisis

President Trump is the second president to try to stem the rising death toll from drug overdoses. The common theme: Addiction can be cured, especially with more public support. 

Reuters
Guests and family members of opioid victims look on as President Donald Trump displays a presidential public health emergency declaration on the nation's opioid crisis in the East Room of the White House.

One reason that President Barack Obama took major steps last year to halt the nation’s opioid crisis was to shift the public’s attitude from blanket condemnation about drug addiction to one of confidence that it can be avoided by education and that addicts can be cured with the right support. Now President Trump, in an Oct. 26 order of a public health emergency, has endorsed this approach.

Mr. Trump’s actions in directing more federal resources to this complex problem reflect an emerging national consensus that prevention and treatment, as much as law enforcement of the opioid trade, will work to reverse the rising death toll.

“We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic,” Trump said.

Under the federal emergency, addicts in rural areas – where much of the problem lies – will find it easier to obtain treatment. States will be allowed to use special funds for treatment. And federal dollars will flow to education campaigns aimed at children.

While better medical intervention with addicts is needed, it is just as important to support the best treatment and recovery programs. Addicts must be viewed not as victims of a chronic brain disease or only as criminals but as capable of overcoming patterns of behavior. As neuroscientist – and former drug addict – Marc Lewis wrote in a memoir, addicts can be enticed to have a “powerful surge” toward goals other than using drugs – “goals about their relationships and feeling whole, connected and under control.”

States are on the front line in solving this epidemic. Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, New Hampshire, and other hard-hit states are coming up with innovative approaches. But the key is public support of addiction treatment – and more treatment centers. More federal support will help, especially if it is grounded in replacing a fatalistic view of addicts as flawed in character with one that empowers them with hope and certainty about living a drug-free life.

The public, like government, can play a major role in ensuring that addicts are given that opportunity and hope.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Trump’s urgency to end the opioid crisis
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2017/1026/Trump-s-urgency-to-end-the-opioid-crisis
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe