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ICYMI: Trump continues his all-talk, no action approach to the opioid epidemic while Sununu smiles

Concord, N.H. - Yesterday, President Trump spoke about his desire to end the opioid epidemic while failing to provide any details outlining how he planned to achieve his goal. Following his speech, Trump was criticized by newspapers, recovery advocates, and New Hampshire's federal delegation for his all-talk, no action approach to a crisis that has affected too many people. Throughout the visit, Governor Sununu proudly stood by Trump's side, greeting him at the airport, and refusing to criticize Trump's broken promises. NHDP Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement: "The reviews are in and New Hampshire is not impressed with President Trump's toothless speech outlining his policy-less plan to combat the opioid epidemic. The only thing more disappointing than Trump's refusal to back up his rhetoric with action is seeing Governor Sununu continue to support the president even as he refuses to give New Hampshire the resources it needs. It is shameful that Sununu is playing politics at such a crucial moment. If Trump and Sununu continue their pattern of broken promises then New Hampshire will have no choice but to overwhelmingly reject them and their radical agenda at the polls in November." See a roundup of coverage from Trump's visit: NY Times: Trump Offers Tough Talk but Few Details in Unveiling Plan to Combat Opioids By: Maggie Haberman, Abby Goodnough, and Katharine Q. Seelye ...Mr. Trump spoke in a state with the nation’s third-highest rate of deaths from overdoses and where opioids are a potent political issue. In a speech at a community college here, he offered up more tough talk than he did specifics about his plan, or how he would pay for it... Officials were vague about how the prescriptions would be reduced, saying only that a main goal would be for prescribers for Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health programs to follow guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published two years ago. Those guidelines recommended that doctors first try ibuprofen and aspirin to treat pain, and that opioid treatment for short-term pain last no more than a week. The plan says little about how addiction treatment would be expanded besides a vague goal of expanding access to “evidence-based addiction treatment” in every state, particularly for members of the military, for veterans and their families and for people leaving jail or prison... The president also called for repealing the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid to cover much of the addiction treatment provided around the United States over the past few years... Civil liberties lawyers were highly critical of Mr. Trump’s endorsement of the death penalty for traffickers and said it would be unworkable. “There has never been an execution under the one part of United States law that allows the death penalty as a punishment for traffickers,” said Ames Grawert, a senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York. “The Supreme Court has consistently refused to sanction the use of the death penalty in crimes other than homicide.” WMUR: Trump promises to spend 'the most money ever' on opioid crisis By: John DiStaso [President Trump] said that since he declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October, “we’ve worked with Congress to ensure at least 6 billion additional dollars, going through right now, in new funding in 2018 and 2019...” On Monday night, following Trump's speech, Shaheen spokesman Ryan Nickel said, "President Trump played no role in securing these resources and continues to be MIA when it comes to providing resources to those on the front lines..." U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said that the Trump administration’s response to the crisis has so far fallen short of addressing “the scope of this deadly epidemic.” “Now, President Trump is coming to our state to propose the death penalty as a solution to this epidemic,” she said. “We cannot jail or kill our way out of this crisis. We need to increase access to evidence-based treatment and recovery services.” "I have been shocked by this administration’s utter unwillingness to treat this crisis with the urgency it requires,” Shea-Porter said. NHPR: Trump in NH: Drug Dealers Deserve The Death Penalty By: Robert Garrova and Britta Greene "...I think it’s appalling that he is looking to escalate the war on drugs the way he is,” said John Burns, who runs recovery support groups and centers on the Seacoast. “It’s an approach that’s failed for decades.” “I have serious concerns with some aspects of President Trump’s proposal and rhetoric,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster, who has led bipartisan efforts in Washington to address the epidemic. “The constant message I hear in New Hampshire from law enforcement, treatment providers, the recovery community, and others is that we cannot arrest our way out of this crisis.” Many were hoping the President would offer more specificity on how federal funds targeted at substance abuse treatment and prevention will be allocated, and what share New Hampshire will receive... Union Leader: Trump in NH pushes opioid plan: 'This isn't about nice anymore' By: Paul Feely ...Monday’s remarks contained no announcement from Trump on plans to change the federal funding formula, something Sununu and members of the state’s congressional delegation have been requesting for months. Shaheen and Hassan co-sponsored the Targeted Opioid Formula Act last November, which would prioritize sending federal grants to states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. Foster's Daily Democrat: Hassan: Trump's death penalty plan won't stop opioids crisis By: Kyle Stucker Hours before President Donald Trump visited Manchester on Monday to unveil a plan for addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., condemned the president’s desire to pursue the death penalty for some drug traffickers... “I think it reflects a lack of a broader understanding of the factors in this crisis,” said Hassan, who, as New Hampshire’s governor, supported efforts to treat overdose scenes as crime scenes and law changes that now allow police to pursue homicide charges against dealers in certain circumstances. “We have to go after demand as well as supply, and law enforcement have been the first people to tell us we can’t enforce our way out of this...” Laconia Daily Sun: Trump in NH: Crack down on drugs By: Rick Green President Donald Trump, who once called New Hampshire “a drug-infested den,” came to the state yesterday with an anti-drug message... Rep. Phil Spagnuolo, D-Laconia, a recovery coach, called for more policy details. “It is concerning that it has taken this long for the president to propose a plan painted with broad strokes rather than specifics,” he said. “The plan fails to address key objectives, such as the need for greater funding and access to recovery community organizations and more treatment beds in New Hampshire. “There are thousands of us in recovery who are passionate about helping those still suffering. We need the president to listen to us and create policy that reduces stigma and empowers us to help ourselves...” LA Times: Trump talks up combating opioids, yet his funding shortfall and Medicaid cuts would blunt his plans By: Noah Bierman and Noam N. Levey ...The proposal lacks details on federal spending, however. That, and the administration's separate proposals for major cuts to Medicaid, the chief source of funds for people seeking treatment for drug addiction, are causing advocates to question the president's commitment. "I'm not sure we can really call this a plan," said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University... The Medicaid expansion made possible by the 2010 Affordable Care Act has played a critical role in helping states on the front lines of the crisis — including New Hampshire and much of New England as well as Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky — to build up systems to treat patients suffering from opioid addictions.

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