Trump Addresses Opioid Epidemic; Expresses Support for CARA

October 19, 2016 | Braeden Kelly
donald trump

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on October 15, 2016, during which he discussed his proposed agenda on combatting the opioid epidemic nationwide.

Mr. Trump began his remarks by addressing the impact that opioids, specifically heroin, have had on the state of New Hampshire. “New Hampshire has one of the highest drug overdose rates and death rates in the country,” said Trump.

Mr. Trump stressed the importance of the issue and then proposed his plan of action across four main areas: Border Control, Law Enforcement, Prescription Drug Regulations, and Treatment.

I. Border Control  

Trump laid out his plan to secure the borders and work closely with border patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. He also stated that in order to dismantle the "illegal immigrant cartels and violent gangs," he would put an end to "sanctuary cities," which, he explained, "refuse to turn over illegal immigrants and drug traffickers for deportation." Trump stated: “We will send them swiftly out of our country back to their countries."

II. Law Enforcement

Trump's policy agenda includes increasing the accessibility of resources and support for law enforcement officials and prosecutors to address illegal drug trafficking. He also expressed support for working with law enforcement on preventing the shipping loopholes of sending illegal drugs into the U.S. through our postal service. Trump said: “The traffickers use the postal service to mail drugs to users and dealers all over the United states. It comes right through the mail.”  

III. Prescription Drug Regulations

Trump criticized the current U.S. government’s policies and regulations that “make it even harder” for individuals to receive treatment. He stated that the FDA needs to approve more abuse-deterrent drugs while also making the approved drugs more available and less restrictive for authorized prescribers. Mr. Trump expressed support for increasing the cap on the number of patients a doctor can treat with medication-assisted treatment. He also called on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reduce the amount of Schedule II opioid drugs released to the market. “We have 5 percent of the world’s population, but use 80 percent of prescription opioids,” said Trump.

IV. Treatment

Trump also praised the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), saying that “this legislation is an important step in the right direction.” Trump promised to expand incentives for states to use drug courts and mandated treatment for those with substance use disorders. “[These resources] can be cost effective, appropriate and humane, and the response to addiction can be incredible,” said Trump. He also stated he would dramatically expand access to drug treatment and alter Medicaid policies that obstruct inpatient treatment, such as the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion, while also improving availability of Narcan, an opiate antidote used to reverse overdoses, to first responders. Trump also plans to restore the accountability of the Veteran's Administration by granting accessible support and resources to U.S. veterans with substance use disorders.


“These steps will ensure that every American struggling with addiction has access to the care and the help he or she needs. We are going to bring hope back into our communities,” explained Trump in his concluding remarks.

To read more about Mr. Trump’s remarks at the New Hampshire rally, click here.

To watch Mr. Trump’s remarks on CARA, click here.

To review our analysis of Secretary Clinton's policy platform on addiction, click here.

Topics: On the Record