Trump vows to 'smash the grip' of drug addiction

President Trump on Wednesday vowed to “smash the grip” of drug addiction in an address to a substance abuse summit in Atlanta.

“We will end this terrible menace, we will smash the grip of addiction,” Trump said.

“We will not solve this epidemic overnight,” he said, while adding “nothing’s going to stop us.”

The president highlighted his administration's efforts to fight the opioid crisis, including signing a bipartisan law last year that includes provisions to help intercept the synthetic opioid fentanyl from entering the country through the mail. The measure also opens up Medicaid funding to pay for more kinds of treatment.

First lady Melania Trump, who also spoke at the summit, said her husband “cares deeply” about fighting the opioid epidemic.

Addressing the opioid crisis has been a priority in both parties, but Democrats argue that Republicans are not putting enough money toward treatment, and that Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion hurt anti-opioid efforts given that Medicaid is a major source of coverage for opioid treatment.

“Trump has not made the epidemic a budgetary priority, even as he has passed a $2 trillion tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and continues to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would devastate addiction treatment across the country,” the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund wrote in a memo ahead of Wednesday's event.

In his speech, Trump drew a connection between opioids and building a border wall, which he argued would help stop drugs from entering the country. He also discussed lowering drug prices.

“We are holding Big Pharma accountable,” Trump said. “We're also working very strong on drug pricing, it's coming way down.”

The president said he would work to “liberate our fellow Americans from the grip of drug addiction and to end the opioid crisis once and for all.”

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