Yang Slams Drug Arrests: Not Individuals’ Fault, Feds and Big Pharma to Blame for Opioid Crisis

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful US entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks at the Wing Ding Dinner on August 9, 2019 in Clear Lake, Iowa. - The dinner has become a must attend for Democratic presidential hopefuls ahead of the of Iowa Caucus. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read …
ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Democrat presidential candidate Andrew Yang said on Saturday that the Boston police were “wrong-headed” when they swept a neighborhood dubbed “Methadone Mile” netting 34 suspected drug dealers and individuals wanted for domestic violence charges.

Yang denounced individual responsibility and blamed the federal government and pharmaceutical companies for the nation’s opioid crisis.

“We have this harsh and punitive system that places all this responsibility on individuals,” Yang said in a phone interview with Boston public radio affiliate WGBH while campaigning in New Hampshire. “Meanwhile, there’s a system that’s preying on our people, particularly when it comes to addiction and opiates.”

“If you’re caught in a system with addictive opiate addictions, you’re going to wind up with more people struggling, and so casting that sort of operation as necessary to clean up drug dealers or addictions seems to be wrong-headed to me,” said Yang, who advised President Barack Obama on entrepreneurship.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, defended “Operation Clean Sweep,” which took place on August 1 and netted 34 suspects who Walsh said had outstanding warrants.

As WGBH reported, Yang said the illicit drug trade has to be dealt with but blames the government and pharmaceutical companies.

“The federal government allowed this plague to get started in the first place by letting Purdue Pharma dispense millions [of] oxy prescriptions around the country,” Yang said. “It’s a federal responsibility to put the resources to work to help clean it up.”

“So, it’s not a money problem,” Yang said. “It’s a human problem.”

“We have to do more to help the people on the ground, and that includes letting them know it’s not prison that we’re prescribing,” Yang said. “It’s treatment.”

“If elected, Yang said he plans to bring down addiction and overdose levels by 20 percent in four years by investing $15.5 billion a year into local treatment programs,” WGBH reported. “To pay for the policy, he proposes levying a tax on all opiate manufacturers dating back to 2005.”

Yang also supports the idea of supervised injection facilities.

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