Donald Trump delved into new details of his plan to deal with nation’s worsening opioid epidemic on Saturday, going beyond his earlier promise to “build a wall” by pledging to crack down on prescription drug abuse while offering help to those struggling with addiction.

In a statement released before a rally in New Hampshire, Trump praised Congress’s passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act as “an important step.” He promised to increase first responders’ access to life-saving Narcan, encourage in-patient treatment for people struggling with addiction, and incentivize state and local governments to mandate treatment.

The number of US deaths from opioid overdose has roughly quadrupled since 1999, reaching a record of more than 28,000 in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The problem is especially severe in rural counties along the Rust Belt, where support for Trump is strong.

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To date, Trump’s comments on the issue have largely focused on building a wall on the Mexican border, which he says will stop the flow of heroin into the US, and swiftly deporting who he calls “illegal immigrant drug traffickers.” Saturday’s disclosure marked the first time he has addressed the issue of prescription drug abuse in detail in what he called a “doubling down.”

“It is tragedy enough that so many Americans are struggling with life-threatening addiction,” Trump said in prepared remarks. “We should not compound that tragedy with government policies and bureaucratic rules that make it even harder for them to get help.”

Trump name-checked fentanyl, a particularly powerful synthetic opioid growing in popularity, and pledged to combat its importation from China and other countries.

He called for the Food and Drug Administration to speed up the approval of so-called abuse-deterrent painkillers, and demanded that the Drug Enforcement Administration restrict the amount of prescription opioids that can be manufactured in the country. He said he would augment the number of patients doctors can treat for opioid addiction, even though that number was recently increased by the Department of Health and Human Services.

His stance presents little difference from that of Hillary Clinton, who in September said she’d expand access to treatment for addiction, promote the use of overdose reversal therapy, and require that health care providers get training on how to deal with substance abuse.

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  • Dr. President Trump; I am a long time sufferer of chronic pain that is so debilitating that I cannot function without my hydrocodone along with a nerve helper (gabapentin). I am now 67 and have been on this same dose for 12 years; it has allowed me to function, be a quality family member and spouse and in general, let me function and able to do daily living activities. Please don’t take away the drugs from people like me and many, many others that REALLY need them. Thank you, Lana

  • Please Mr President, i am a American Vietnam war Veteran suffering from severe cronic lower back pain that occured in Vietnam when i was struck from befind by a duce-n-half. I had a Top Secret Clearance in United States Army Special Security (USASSG). I AM SEARCHING FOR MEDICAL RECORDS from the incedent, to be able to get my disability raiting changed from temporary to permanent. I am 65 now and with the medication taken away i am no longer able to function . The CDC really did the ones that really need the opiod medication just to live a low quality of life. My love for my family keeps me going although i can’t enjoy any quality form of life due to the severe cronic hurt i live with daily. I am sure you will do right by your patriots in arms and not allow us to live the rest of our life in agony.
    Thank you Commander, and i am looking to hear back from you.
    Sencerly. PFC DAVID W. MANESS

  • Are dear President Donald Trump hearing of the soboxon program being taking away from everyone. Seeing it has saved many lives curious people would like to know. Thank you. ??

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