President Trump has pledged to donate his third-quarter salary to fight the opioid crisis.
So what will that buy, exactly? We’re not sure yet. But it won’t go too far — considering the White House itself has said the opioid epidemic costs the nation about $500 billion a year in costs for medical care, law enforcement, and lost productivity.
His third quarter salary, by contrast, is a drop in the bucket at $100,000. It’ll be donated to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Here’s what Trump’s donation could buy:
- 44 auto-injectors of naloxone. Kaleo, the pharmaceutical company that makes the auto-injector that revives opioid users who have overdosed, sells its product as a two-pack with a list price of $4,500
- 735 doses of naloxone nasal spray. GoodRx lists the price of Narcan nasal spray at $135 with a free coupon at Costco, Walgreens, and Kroger Pharmacy.
- 100 doses of Vivitrol, the monthly injectable of extended-release naltrexone, which can cost about $1,000 per shot.
- A year’s worth of methadone treatment for 21 patients. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, the average cost of methadone maintenance runs about $4,700 per patient for a full year.
- About 103,000 clean needles to be used by a syringe exchange. That’s according to the Harm Reduction Coalition, which has stated the cost of a sterile syringe can be as low as 97 cents.
- Six months’ salary for either his next health secretary or the drug czar’s. The salary is $199,700 for both positions.
- 2,000 doctors could be trained on how to perform the evidence-based protocol known as Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment. Federal officials have championed SBIRT as a way to “identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs.” A four-hour training in New York costs $50.
Why did Trump pick the opioid crisis for his gift? “His decision to donate his salary is a tribute to his compassion, to his patriotism and his sense of duty to the American people,” acting health secretary Eric Hargan said Thursday during the White House’s press briefing.
Trump had previously donated portions of his salary to the National Parks Service and U.S. Department of Education.