Donald Trump’s Solution to Opioid Epidemic: Build A Wall

By Kelly Burch 08/05/16

After offering his wall-building resolution for the opioid epidemic in a recent town hall, Trump also briefly acknowledged the need for addiction treatment.

Trump’s Solution to Opioid Epidemic: Build A Wall

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will solve the opioid epidemic by building a wall between the United States and Mexico, according to his statements during a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio on Monday. 

“We're not gonna let this crap come into our country and poison our youth and poison our people, and it comes in mostly from the southern border,” Trump said in response to an audience member who asked him to "cut off the source" of heroin. “I will cut off the source," he replied. "The source is the southern border.”

Trump talked about how campaigning in New Hampshire made him realize the extent of the heroin epidemic. During town hall meetings in the state, voters consistently said that their biggest concern was heroin, which surprised Trump. 

“My first victory was New Hampshire, which is a beautiful, beautiful place ... This doesn’t look like it's a heroin like problem type place,” he told the crowd in Ohio, without elaborating on what type of place he would expect to find heroin addiction. 

Trump went on, “They say, Mr. Trump, it is flowing across our southern border.”

It's possible that the Granite State residents were referring to the border between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, through which heroin and other drugs are regularly transported in bulk via interstate highways into New Hampshire and the rest of New England. 

However, Trump was more concerned with the U.S.-Mexico border, which he has promised throughout his campaign to seal with a wall that the Mexican government will pay for. On Monday, he made similar predictions for how he would solve America’s heroin problem. 

“If I win, I’m going to stop heroin from coming into this country. I’m going to get the government of Mexico and other governments to stop it," he said. "We get the drugs, they get the money. Big vans coming across, drugs coming in, money going out. Those days are over, folks.” He hinted that border guards under his control would be more effective at stopping drug smugglers than they are now, saying, “With me, they’re going to stop people from coming into our country, and they’re not going to have to work that hard because of the wall.” 

Trump did not mention the fact that many powerful opioids that end up on the black market, like fentanyl, originate from Chinese suppliers, or that the accessibility of prescription drugs is a major driving factor for the opioid crisis. 

After talking for four minutes, however, he did finally acknowledge the need for treatment, saying, “It’s very hard to get out of that addiction, of heroin. We're gonna work with them, we're gonna spend the money, we're gonna get that habit broken."

Watch Trump’s town hall meeting in Columbus here. His comments about heroin begin at 1:35:00 mark. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.