President Donald Trump has outlined the federal plan to combat the opioid epidemic. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray spoke to a local health expert.
The focus of Trump’s plan includes an ad campaign discouraging drug use and expanding addiction treatment. Kevin Dick is with the Washoe County Health District.
“I think the education can also help to de-stigmatize addiction because these are people that have an illness and they need treatment,” Dick explains. "The other part of Trump’s announcement which I thought was really encouraging was Medically Assisted Treatment for addiction and making sure that was readily available.”
Medically Assisted Treatment programs combine counseling with FDA approved drugs to control cravings. Some of those meds could include opioids.
Trump’s plan also includes a hardline approach to law enforcement. The Department of Justice plans to prosecute drug traffickers aggressively by pursuing the death penalty for the worst offenders.
“That to me sounds like going back to the war on drugs and that wasn’t successful for us before,” Dick says. “There are a lot of poor health outcomes that result from people being incarcerated.”
Those poor health outcomes include having a difficult time finding employment, adjusting mentally and integrating back into society after being released.
Republican Governor Brian Sandoval, earlier this week, issued a statement complimenting the president’s plan to get new resources to combat the epidemic to states like Nevada. The governor did not comment on Trump’s call for the death penalty for some drug dealers.
Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto was critical, stating that there is no evidence that threatening suspected drug traffickers with capital punishment would alleviate the opioid epidemic.