President Donald Trump vowed multiple times to fix the opioid crisis that has ravaged communities across America, but so far opioid addiction recovery advocates feel very underwhelmed by his efforts.
CNN has talked with some recovering opioid addicts who believe that the president has ignored their concerns ever since taking office this past January.
Erin Canterbury, a 39-year-old New Hampshire mother and a recovering prescription painkiller addict, told CNN that she voted for Trump after hearing him talk about his own family members’ struggles with addiction. However, four months into his presidency, she’s disappointed Trump hasn’t taken any significant actions to address the crisis.
“He hasn’t done anything thus far,” Canterbury, a chief ambassador for Reliance Treatment Centers in New England, told CNN. “I don’t want to say I completely regret it. But he hasn’t done anything.”
Dean Lemrire, a recovering addict who tells CNN he “reluctantly” backed Hillary Clinton this past fall, said that Trump has taken the wrong approach to fighting the opioid crisis.
“If he had really asked and listened to anybody close to the issue, they would tell him that he has done everything wrong so far,” he said.
Two of Trump’s actions have proven alarming to addiction recovery addicts: The savage cuts to Medicaid in the American Health Care Act and an administration memo that proposed decimating the Drug-Free Communities Support program.
“Uncertainty is sort of the mood of the movement here in New Hampshire,” explained treatment advocate Tym Rourke. “We are working to build our state’s capacity, to build the workforce, but it is hard to do that in a moment where the services we have built could potentially be at risk.”
Additionally, former New Hampshire Republican lawmaker Joe Hannon tells CNN that he’s worried about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to ramp up drug war-style enforcement policies that won’t fundamentally treat drug addiction.
“We have had a war on drugs for quite some time now and it is not getting better with what we are doing so I am not sure the same old approach is the answer,” he said.