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Local officials unimpressed by Trump’s tough talk on opioid crisis

  • Published in Local

WASHINGTON — Despite President Trump’s unveiling of a three-prong strategy to combat opioid addiction and his claims that his administration is “involved more than any administration, by far” in efforts to end the nationwide opioid epidemic, Montgomery County officials and a member of President Trump’s own opioid commission remain unconvinced that an executive branch led by a President who dismisses the efficacy of his own presidential commission while calling for the death penalty for drug dealers is truly committed to fighting opioid abuse.

The new plan comes nearly three weeks after the White House held an opioid summit featuring cabinet secretaries and officials from various executive branch agencies who highlighted their accomplishments over the past year and previewed future plans for an audience of addiction treatment professionals, law enforcement, and ordinary Americans who have been affected by the epidemic or lost loved ones to it.

“The administration is going to be rolling out policy over the next three weeks, and it will be very, very strong,” Trump said while speaking toward the end of a White House’s opioid summit, which featured cabinet secretaries and officials from various executive branch agencies who highlighted their accomplishments over the past year and previewed future plans for an audience of addiction treatment professionals, law enforcement, and ordinary Americans who have been affected by the epidemic or lost loved ones to it.

The March 1 event was emceed by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager and one of the few senior advisors who has been with him since he became President in January of last year. Trump selected Conway, a veteran GOP pollster, political consultant and television pundit, to be the White House’s “opioid czar” in November despite her lack of qualifications or experience in medicine, public health or any other relevant field.

Nevertheless, Conway boasted that the administration has made “great progress” against opioids thanks to the work of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and Trump’s decision last year to order then-Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Don Wright to declare the crisis a Public Health Emergency. But Trump himself seemed to dismiss the idea that implementing the recommendations of his own commission would be effective in reducing the opioid scourge’s effects on the nation.

“If you want to be weak and you want to talk about just blue-ribbon committees, that’s not the answer,” said Trump, who then suggested that a solution could be found in harsher punishments – not prevention or treatment.

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County files suit against opioid manufacturers

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countysealROCKVILLE — Montgomery County is suing 14 manufactures and distributors of prescription opioids as part of the county’s efforts to combat the growing nationwide opioid addiction crisis, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) announced Wednesday. Attorneys filed the suit Wednesday in federal court because it is the most appropriate venue to address the devastating effect the opioid addiction crisis has had on the County.

“The opioid crisis is wreaking severe damage on individuals and communities throughout our great nation – and Montgomery County is not immune,” Leggett said. “Just ask the first responders in our Fire & Rescue Service and our Police. Ask our front-line personnel in Health & Human Services. We are talking about addiction, death, broken lives and broken families.”

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County to file suit against opioid manufacturers

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoMontgomery County plans to file a lawsuit against opioid manufactures and distributors as a way to take a stand against rising rates of opioid addiction, County Executive Ike Leggett (D) said Monday.

“I think next week, I’m announcing full steam ahead on a lawsuit against a number of manufacturers and distributors who have provided drugs not only in Montgomery County but throughout this nation, so I’m taking them to court,” Leggett said, while speaking at a budget forum in Germantown.

While almost all of Leggett’s time at the event was dedicated to talking about the budget, the County Executive announced the County’s forthcoming lawsuit in response to a question from a resident about the ongoing opioid epidemic.

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