Donald Trump declares the widespread opiate drug addiction crisis a public health emergency. According to USA Today, “Trump signed a presidential memorandum ordering Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan to waive regulations and give states more flexibility in how they use federal funds.”
Why is it that when there is a health-related crisis, it’s mainly, “What can government do to stop this?” “Federal funding, state funding, tax dollars.” Hmm, we know just how much throwing more tax dollars at a problem helps in other areas, such as education, national security, immigration, and so on. (i.e. zilch.)
Politicians get into their central-planning-on-steroids mode in their hubris of thinking that they can solve societal problems. So what will Trump and his government-must-solve-the-problem cohorts do about people getting addicted to opiates?
“Trump touted a ‘big meeting’ on opioids, and said a national emergency ‘gives us power to do things that you can’t do right now’.”
Thursday’s designation gives the administration specific powers to marshal federal, state and private resources. Those emergency powers would:
► Allow patients to get medically-assisted treatment for opioid addiction through telemedicine. Current law generally requires in-person visits for doctors to prescribe controlled substances. But for people in rural areas like Appalachia — where the opioid crisis has taken a particularly heavy toll — qualified doctors can often be hours away.
► Give federal and state governments more flexibility in hiring substance abuse specialists temporarily and shift federal grant programs for people with HIV/AIDS to get substance abuse treatment.
“I think our general feeling is, that’s a good step, but it’s a temporary step, and it’s a transitional step,” said Jim Blumenstock, chief of health security for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
► Make Dislocated Worker Grants available to people with opioid addiction through the Department of Labor. Those grants are usually available to people put out of work by a natural disaster, but a public health emergency could also make those grants available to people in treatment. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta told the opioid commission last week that pain and addiction sideline millions of American workers: Of men aged 25-54 not in workforce, 44% had taken a painkiller in the last day, according to the Council of Economic Advisers.
► Tap the Public Health Emergency Fund, a special fund that gives HHS maximum flexibility in a health crisis.
Central planning and fascism are what come to mind with the typical bureaucrats. For instance, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (a.k.a. Charlie Half-Baker) signed into law mandatory requirements that doctors may only prescribe certain drugs such as opiate pain killers for doses up to 7 days, and mandating a state-wide database of all medical patients being given opiate drugs. Hmm, perhaps this is the first step to including all medical patients’ prescription drugs of any kind in the database, because we really want the government and police to have that kind of personal information about us, don’t we? But with Gov. Charlie Half-Baker’s law, the state legislature decided against Baker’s proposal to involuntarily hospitalize (i.e. incarcerate, detain) drug addicts for 3 days. So we know where Charlie Half-Baker’s mentality is.
But is there anything we can do about the “doctors” prescribing these drugs so unnecessarily? According to CBS News, more than 1 in 3 Americans were prescribed opioids in 2015. According to Healthline News, prescription opiate drugs are leading to heroin addictions. You’ve probably already heard that. And according to the $1 Newsweek, opioid dependency begins in just a few days after its initial use.
Now, why are Trump and Charlie Half-Baker’s gut responses to centrally-plan proposed solutions, make orders like military generals, or get tax-funding involved in this crisis? If we know that doctors are over-prescribing these drugs, then why don’t the high officials use their power of the bully pulpit to persuade the doctors to stop giving these powerful, addictive drugs to patients who shouldn’t be getting them? Most of these medical patients don’t need strong pain-killers and shouldn’t be getting them.
It isn’t a matter of ordering the doctors by law to stop doing it. Perhaps shaming the doctors into letting go of their own addictions to handing out drugs? Ya think? And I think many of these “doctors” are literally addicted to handing out drugs like candy. They’re like Santa Claus, in some instances. And also many of them are getting free stuff from the pharmaceutical companies, such as coffee mugs and clipboards with the brand names of certain prescription drugs on them. I know that as a fact, from seeing it with my own eyes in doctors offices!
And instead of putting patients’ names into state-wide databases, how about putting the names of the doctors into databases, those doctors who are over-prescribing? Especially those doctors whose prescription opiates are leading to a patient’s death. (I know, that proposal is quite controversial, but let’s consider it anyway.) The “doctors” are being very irresponsible with the drugs.
It may be the case, however, that those people with chronic, long-term excruciating pain issues may need those kind of very strong drugs. But if a patient is in some pain, such as following surgery or an injury, why don’t doctors learn about nutritional support for people? e.g. magnesium, vitamin D and omega 3, and so on.
In the mid-1980s I had my 3rd molars yanked out, and the doctor told me to take Tylenol, and that’s what I did. It wasn’t too bad. (I don’t recommend Tylenol now, though.) A lot of these prescription drugs have terrible side effects, anyway.
But my main point of this post is, government bureaucrats have a one-track mind when crises happen. Fascism and central-planning will solve the problems, according to them. But in Donald Trump’s speeches on all this, why doesn’t he say anything about the doctors who are over-prescribing those addictive drugs? My answer to that is that our society looks to Establishment medicine like a god, just as it looks to government. The sheeple don’t want to question the judgment of doctors. And that really is a problem.