Trump to keep fighting opioids ‘until our job is done’
President Donald Trump pledged on Wednesday to battle the deadly epidemic of opioid drug abuse “until our job is done,” and he claimed progress even though it is unclear whether the crisis has diminished.
Trump spoke at an annual conference of health, law enforcement, elected and other officials who work to combat drug abuse and addiction, and used the appearance to advocate for the wall he wants to build on the U.S.-Mexico border, saying without evidence that it will help keep drugs out of the U.S. His wife, Melania, introduced him.
“My administration is deploying every resource at our disposal to empower you, to support you and to fight right by your side,” Trump said. “We will not solve this epidemic overnight but we will stop. ... There’s just nothing going to stop us, no matter how you cut it.”
Before leaving the White House for the Atlanta event, Trump claimed credit for progress in combating the drug scourge.
“It’s a big problem. It’s a big addiction and we’re handling it,” the president told reporters. He said doctors, laboratories, clinics and drug companies have assisted the administration.
There have been signs of progress, including a drop in the number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers. However, opioid abuse claimed a record of nearly 48,000 American lives in 2017. An estimated 2 million people are addicted to the drugs, which include both legal prescription pain medications and illegal drugs such as heroin.