President Donald Trump vowed to fight the opioid epidemic in the United States, placing it among his highest priorities for the country.
“Nobody is safe from this epidemic. … Everybody is threatened,” Trump said during a meeting with his top aides on Tuesday. “It is a problem the likes of which we have not seen.”
Trump met with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway at his golf club in New Jersey during his August working vacation.
The president noted that prosecution of drug crimes had fallen in recent years and promised to work with law enforcement to stop drug dealers and secure the southern border.
He also vowed to work with doctors and health professionals to help address the causes of opioid addictions.
“I’m confident that by working with our healthcare and law enforcement experts, we will fight this deadly epidemic, and the United States will win,” he said.
After the meeting, Price discussed his strategy to beat the epidemic by coordinating with the entire Trump administration.
He said that overdose-reversing medications like Naloxone and Narcan should be made available around the country and even spoke about a National Institutes of Health (NIH) effort to create a vaccine for addiction. Price also warned physicians to exercise caution when they prescribe opioids and the amount they give a patient.
Conway made remarks to reporters after the event, pointing to the bipartisan nature of the crisis.
“No state has been spared, and no demographic group has gone untouched,” she said. “This is not a problem of young or old, of black or white, of rural, urban, or suburban. It really has affected all of our communities in varying degrees.”