President Trump made a lot of big promises in his address on America's opioid epidemic last week. The president vowed to help this generation end opioid addiction, pledged to revive a 'Just Say No' style ad campaign to deter drug abuse, and promised that his border wall will somehow get heroin off the streets. But in terms of real money, his plan amounts to spending just 2¢ on every opioid addict in America.
By declaring the opioid epidemic a Public Health Emergency, Trump has enabled the federal government to access the Public Health Emergency Fund. The only problem is that right now, the fund has a balance of just over $56,000. Which is woefully insufficient since the House Appropriations Committee in Congress estimates that combating the crisis will cost about $75 billion dollars a year.
So, as John Oliver noted yesterday on 'Last Week Tonight,' that $56,000 works out to roughly 2¢ for the 2.6 million people addicted to opioids.
"Trump's fix for our opioid epidemic essentially boils down to, 'Here's two pennies. Go throw them in a fucking mall fountain and wish your addiction away," Oliver noted.
Of course, we shouldn't be surprised that Trump's plan is appallingly inept. After all, this is the same president who responded to the devastation in Puerto Rico earlier this month by tossing paper towels at the victims of Hurricane Maria. So we should really be glad that he's not responding to the health crisis by pelting opioid addicts with pocket change.