Strong law enforcement needed to combat Opioid crisis: Trump

| Updated: Aug 09, 2017 13:11 IST

New Jersey [United States], August 9 (ANI): Reiterating his campaign promise to fight Opioid crisis in the country, United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that stronger law enforcement is needed to combat this issue. "We're also working with law enforcement officers to protect innocent citizens from drug dealers that poison our communities. Strong law enforcement is absolutely vital to having a drug-free society," Trump said while speaking to media at his New Jersey golf club. He said that the best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place. "If they don't start, they won't have a problem. If they do start, it's awfully tough to get off. So we can keep them from going on, and maybe by talking to youth and telling them, "No good; really bad for you" in every way. But if they don't start, it will never be a problem," he added. Trump expressed confidence that the country will fight this deadly epidemic by working with healthcare and law enforcement experts and will make the United States win. "Nobody is safe from this epidemic that threatens young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural communities. Everybody is threatened. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and opioid overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 1999. It is a problem the likes of which we have not seen," he said. However, Trump did not announce any new policy to combat the menace of drug overdose. Last week, the presidential opioid commission, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, had recommended Trump administration to declare a national emergency to combat opioids. Trump also assured that his administration is going to bring federal drug prosecutions up as it has gone down in recent years. Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said that the country would not declare opioid epidemic a public health emergency as President Trump has no immediate plansfor it. "We believe that at this point, the resources that we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crises can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency," CNN quoted Price as saying. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that the U.S. is currently "on the losing side" of the crisis. "The problem is very complicated and currently, we are on the losing side of this war," she said. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 35,000 people across America died of heroin or opioid overdoses in 2015. A study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that estimated drug overdose deaths for the first nine months of 2016 were higher than the first nine months of the previous year, which had already reached an all-time high of 52,404. (ANI)