Ivanka Trump Discusses Opioid Epidemic With Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker

By Victoria Kim 03/02/17

The Massachusetts governor spoke with the first daughter during a recent black-tie dinner. 

 Ivanka Trump

It’s not your typical polite dinner conversation. While seated next to Ivanka Trump at the 2017 National Governors Association dinner on Sunday (Feb. 26), Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said they “spent most of the time talking about opioids and the opioid epidemic.”

Baker recalled his conversation with the president’s daughter on a recent appearance on CBS This Morning, and took the opportunity to talk about signing Massachusetts’ own opioid legislation in March 2016. 

The law placed a seven-day limit for first-time opioid prescriptions, and a seven-day limit on all opioid prescriptions for those under age 18 (except in special cases). The legislation also focused on increasing education and prevention efforts among young people, and better training for doctors. 

“[The plan] has got a lot of elements to it, but it’s basically prevention and education on the front end, better training of prescribers,” said Baker on Tuesday (Feb. 28). “Till very recently, you could practice medicine, you could be a dentist, a nurse, a physician’s assistant, and never take a course in pain management or opioid therapy. In Massachusetts, you’ve got to actually take a course and pass it now to graduate from any of those schools.”

Like many other states, Massachusetts is dealing with its own drug abuse problem. In February, figures from the state’s public health department showed that the number of opioid-related deaths in 2016 was on track to increase for the sixth year in a row. 

Ivanka's role in shaping U.S. drug policy is unclear, but President Trump has addressed it on some occasions, focusing mainly on guarding our shared border with Mexico. 

Trump addressed the country’s opioid abuse problem in an October 2016 address. The highlight of his anti-drug abuse strategy is to “stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country” by ramping up border security, deporting undocumented immigrants, and aggressively prosecuting drug traffickers.

Trump also talked about cracking down on the import of synthetic drugs like fentanyl—the synthetic opioid that has exacerbated the overdose death toll in places like Massachusetts and Ohio—and increasing access to drugs like Suboxone (used to treat opioid addiction) and Narcan (the overdose antidote).

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr