Accuracy in Media

Unlike Hillary Clinton, who had a detailed $10 billion plan to address the opioid crisis, President Trump has no plan except to hold people of color responsible and use opioids as an excuse to kill as many of them as possible, according to a piece on Slate.

In “Kill the Scapegoats: Donald Trump wants the death penalty for black and brown people he blames for the opioid crisis,” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie admitted that Trump talked a lot about opioids on the campaign trail.

His approach – it wasn’t a plan but more like “a hastily scribbled sketch” had two prongs, Bouie wrote: “The first was compassion and treatment for the victims; … the second was punishment for those responsible, with longer mandatory minimums for drug dealers.”

“The victims were his base: white, rural and blue-collar. The villains were not the usual scourges of the opioid crisis – the major pharmaceutical companies that aggressively marketed these drugs and the doctors who knowingly overprescribed them – but, instead, Hispanic immigrants, whom Trump blamed for bringing drugs into these communities.”

“Trump still has no solutions for the crisis, but he has come up with some new ideas for how to punish the black and brown people he thinks are to blame,” Bouie wrote a year into his presidency.

In Trump’s New Hampshire speech Monday, he’d gone all in on “get tough” policies, such as the death penalty in extreme cases – “This isn’t about nice anymore,” the president had said – and building the border wall with Mexico, which the president suggests would reduce the flow of drugs into the country.

This is a bad idea, Bouie wrote, because it “stands on the opposite end of informed opinion.” Informed opinion comes from the New York Times, which assembled a distinguished panel of like-minded academics to confirm its views. Among its 30 experts on addiction and opioids, she reported, “just 11 percent called for supply-side solutions;” 3 percent “saw a solution in greater police activity” and none suggested a border wall would help.

The experts called for treatment, as does Trump, “followed by efforts to reduce demand – none of them punitive – and further efforts to reduce the harms of using drugs.”

“Harsh punishment – much less the death penalty – won’t do anything to relieve the opioid crisis,” she wrote. “But then this ‘tough’ language has less to do with solutions and more to do with the president’s racist worldview.”

She wrote about how Trump tied opioid abuse and addiction to “sanctuary cities” – quote marks hers – in states such as California. “Every day, sanctuary cities release illegal immigrants and drug dealers, traffickers, and gang members back into our communities,” she quotes the president as saying. “Ending sanctuary cities is crucial to stopping the drug-addiction crisis.”

“All of this is in line with Donald Trump’s longtime belief that black and brown people are vectors for crime and disorder who should be punished with the harshest tools available, regardless of their actual guilt,” Bouie responded.

Part of Trump’s enthusiasm for using the death penalty against the opioid crisis comes from watching the dictators he admires so much, such as Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who has “embarked on a murderous assault on drug users in his country,” according to Bouie.

Part comes from “the context of Trump’s worldview, which puts black and brown people outside any zone of dignity and respect. In his story of the opioid addition, they are villains – never victims – and deserve nothing less than the harshest punishment he can offer.”

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