Addiction recovery advocates across the country are closely watching President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to tackle the U.S. heroin and painkiller crisis. Throughout his campaign, the candidate said he talked to families ravaged by addiction and has pledged to help. Yet people working in recovery remain wary of the means he’ll use to do so, Stat News reports.
Some of Trump’s campaign promises have the potential to have a big impact on opioid addiction in this country. The President-elect says he plans to increase access to the overdose-reversing medication naloxone (also known as Narcan), encourage state and local governments to provide more substance abuse treatment and speed up approval processes at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for abuse-deterrent painkillers.
However, Trump’s notorious plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and vastly expand the nation’s drug courts have been met with intense skepticism from the harm reduction community. Many people in health care are also wary of the president-elect’s campaign promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), which could eliminate insurance coverage for thousands of Americans in recovery.
Over the next few months, advocates and lobbyists who track addiction policy will be closely watching to see whom Trump appoints to lead the government agencies most tied to the opioid epidemic—including the Justice Department, the FDA and the department of Health and Human Services. These appointments are likely to provide clues about the new administration’s real methods for curbing addiction in this country.
Advocates are also hoping that federal agencies like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will not see their funding cut during the transition and that federal agencies will not suffer a once-promised purge of career staffers who work at those agencies.
Until then, people who work in addiction recovery must wait to see whether the new president will take the opioid crisis seriously and hope that Republicans in Congress who have been fighting addiction in their own communities will help guide the new administration.