Chris Christie Erroneously Blames Obama for Heroin Epidemic in New Campaign Ad

By Zachary Siegel 08/25/15

Instead of putting forward a plan, Christie places blame on others while ignoring problems in his own state.

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The heroin epidemic has produced a lot of finger pointing, mostly at Big Pharma, dirty doctors, and an uptick of Mexican heroin manufacturing. In an attempt to politicize the issue for one’s own benefit, presidential long shot Chris Christie blames President Barack Obama.

In a brand new campaign ad, Christie brings our attention to the “lawlessness in America,” such as “drugs running rampant and destroying lives.” A ghostly image of a hooded heroin addict tying off in a dimly lit stairwell flashes on the screen, then cuts to him falling out in what looks like an overdose.

What the advertisement conveniently neglects to acknowledge is that the opiate crisis was picking up speed well before 2008, when George W. Bush was still in office. For instance, in 2007, Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to criminal charges for falsely marketing OxyContin, which is one of the many culprits of the current epidemic.

Furthermore, it wasn’t until 2011, again under Obama’s watch, when pill mills—another major contributor of the opiate problem—were finally shut down in states such as Florida and throughout the Rust Belt.

Christie’s home state of New Jersey currently has triple the rate of overdoses compared to the overall U.S. rate. Though, to his credit, he has enacted Good Samaritan laws and advocates for wide naloxone distribution. However, drug treatment in New Jersey has been unable to meet the needs of many seeking help.

Christie expanded on the ad for MSNBC's Morning Joe. "This president has set a standard in Washington of lawlessness," Christie said. "What I mean by that is this: If you don't like the law, don't enforce it. So if you don't like the immigration laws, don't enforce those and let there be sanctuary cities throughout the country and do nothing about it. If you don't like the marijuana laws, don't enforce the marijuana laws in certain states if they don't feel like enforcing them."

According to his ad, America “needs a strong law enforcer as president,” as if paternalistically enforcing laws will solve our problems.

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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