President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency on Thursday, telling an audience in the East Room of the White House that “we can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. This epidemic is a national health emergency,” he said.
Trump continued to say “nobody has seen anything like what is going on now. As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”
The president also stressed the need for further enforcement and linked his planned wall along the US-Mexico border with efforts to stem the tide of illegal drugs coming into the United States. “An astonishing 90% of the heroin in America comes from south of the border where we will be building a wall which will greatly help in this problem,” he said.
He also emphasised the need to crack down on those Americans who are buying illegal drugs, stressing the need to link enforcement with stopping abuse in the first place. “Every person who buys illicit drugs here in America should know that they are risking their futures, their families and even their lives. Illegal drug use is not a victimless crime. There is nothing admirable, positive or socially desirable about it.”