Trump on Drugs

Posted on Friday, November 18th

As the Trump administration gears up to drag us back to the 1950s you can kiss any sane and compassionate drug addiction policy goodbye.

Two reasons:

When Indiana was confronted with an HIV epidemic “local, state and federal health officials were urging the governor to allow clean needles to be distributed to slow the outbreak.”

Then Governor Mike Pence refused saying he was morally opposed, because needle exchange programs “supported abuse.

Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s choice for Attorney General, believes that “good people don’t smoke pot.”

Trump grew up with an alcoholic brother, so you would think he can relate to addiction. I’m not holding out much hope. So far he has shown to be incapable of empathy.

OK class let’s go over this again: heroin addiction is not a moral failure or crime: it’s a physical and mental disease. “Addiction is a learning disorder; a difference in the wiring of the brain that affects the way we process information about motivation, reward and punishment.”

“A 2007 meta-analysis of dozens of studies over four decades found that empowering, empathetic treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy, which nurture an internal willingness to change, work far better than the more traditional rehab approach of confronting denial and telling patients that they are powerless over their addiction.”

Yet, it remains all too common today to blame addicts as if they could will their way to becoming and staying clean. An attitude the Surgeon General urged against in a major survey on drug addiction released yesterday, “Regardless of persistent beliefs, addiction is a brain disease, not a moral failing.”

Such 1950s thinking about heroin addiction makes as much sense as telling the diabetic to knock it off and start producing insulin.

Treat don’t punish, don’t shame.