President Trump is under fire for his controversial solution to the opioid epidemic, which killed over 49,000 Americans in 2016 alone. Yesterday, Trump suggested sentencing drug dealers to the death penalty as punishment for their involvement in the public-health crisis. But that solution is cruelly absurd according to one physician.
'Vengeance is not a public health policy. But it's implicit in a policy measure coming out of the White House, which would attempt to solve the opioid crisis with a plan that includes sentencing some high-intensity traffickers to death. It may feel good, and for some segment of the population, vengeance may even look good," Dr. Ford Vox wrote in an op-ed for CNN.
He added that doling out capital punishment to drug dealers will do nothing but increase the epidemic's already staggering death toll: '[A]dding to the number of lives lost at the hands of the opioid crisis is not what the United States needs."
Vox diagnosed Trump's disastrous approach to the crisis as symptomatic of living during the 'Just Say No' era of American drug policy.
"The 1980s made Trump. During that era's crack and cocaine epidemic, first lady Nancy Reagan led the 'Just Say No' campaign in an effort to curb drug use. But that effort didn't address the underlying economic, social and educational causes of the drug problem in communities, nor did it equip adolescents with skills to overcome the barriers they faced. Opioids may present a new problem, but our President is looking back to his '80s heyday for an old solution."
Vox doubts that Trump's plan to mount a 'Just Say No' style ad campaign to combat drugs use will work. But it's possible, he noted while taking a jab at the president.
"Plenty of research suggests abstinence messaging such as 'Just Say No,' along with the scare tactics of the police-led DARE campaign, have not amounted to much in the past. But maybe Trump's commercials will be better. Hey, with psychographic Facebook marketing, anything's possible (even Trump's presidency)."
Check out the full op-ed here.