Trump Misses Target on Opioids: Down With Wall, Up With Port Security, Say Ex-WH Drug Spokesman Robert Weiner and Analyst Ben Lasky--Oped in Youngstown OH Vindicator

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 General News
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Trump insists "Eventually the Democrats will agree with us to build the wall and to keep the damn drugs out."

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Robert Weiner, the White House Drug Policy Spokesman under Presidents

Bill Clinton and George Bush, said that President Trump's insistence on a wall again today, during his opioids announcement in New Hampshire, "misses the target on opioids and other drugs."  Weiner and policy analyst Ben Lasky wrote an oped just out in the Youngstown, OH Vindicator, "Down with the Wall, Up with Increased Port Security."  Weiner cited Cong Tim Ryan and other experts who found that 90% of the drugs coming into the country come through the port of entry. "The key is personnel to inspect container cargo," Weiner said today. 

Link to article:

At today's announcement in New Hampshire, Trump insisted "Eventually the Democrats will agree with us to build the wall and to keep the damn drugs out." Weiner and Lasky pointed out that there has actually been a negative flow of immigration across the Southern Border—more people going back to Mexico than coming into the USA – for the past decade. "Not only is the wall unnecessary because it misses where the drugs come from, it's unnecessary because the number of undocumented immigrants has been consistently decreasing, a fact little known," Weiner and Lasky wrote.  They cite a Pew 2017 study that found the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is the lowest since 2005.

Weiner did commend parts of Trump's plan. In a statement today, Weiner said,

"The President is right to institute a massive advertising campaign.  Four-Star General/Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, under President Clinton, instituted and carried out a five-year anti-drug TV advertising campaign that reduced youth drug use by 30% during McCaffrey and Clinton's last three years. Advertising works," Weiner said. "It was counterproductive later to zero out the advertising campaign, but drug legalizers and allies were successfully lobbying against it. I'm very glad the cycle is turning around to what works."

"Also, prevention, treatment as a whole, treatment for prisoners to avoid recidivism, and Narcan in emergencies to save lives from overdose, are excellent steps, as are prescription takebacks, reducing over-prescriptions for pain (but assuring still available when needed), messaging to stop parents from leaving drugs unattended in medicine cabinets, and reducing the prices of prescription drugs compared to other countries." 

Weiner took issue with promoting expanded death penalties. "In extreme cases it is necessary, but you can't kill your way out of the drug problem," Weiner asserted.

Weiner and Lasky concluded in their article, "Only a small percentage of containers are inspected. It is time for the U.S. to get serious about protecting ports of entry if it wants to seriously attack the country's opioid epidemic."

Weiner added today, "Moreover, if the White House is serious about opioids, they could start with maintaining the budget and staff of the White House Drug Policy Office instead of again, as they tried to do last year, wanting to nearly zero it out."

Contact: Robert Weiner/Ben Lasky 301-283-0821, cell 202-306-1200

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SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change

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