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Trump Speech on Opioid Crisis. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 26, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- just as the same adults undergoing detox. Some of these children will likely lose one or both of their parents to drug addiction and overdose. They will join the growing ranks of America's opioid orphans. Such beautiful, beautiful babies.

Beyond the shocking death toll the terrible measure of the opioid crisis includes the families ripped apart and for many communities a generation of lost potential and opportunity. This epidemic is a national health emergency unlike many of us we've seen -- and what we've seen -- in our lifetimes. Nobody has seen anything like what's going on now.

As Americans we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from the scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way.

We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.


We can do it.


That is why, effective today, my administration is officially declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency under federal law, and why I am directing all executive agencies to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight the opioid crisis. This marks a critical step in confronting the extraordinary challenge that we face.

As part of this emergency response, we will announce a new policy to overcome a restrictive 1970 zero (ph) rule the prevents states from providing care at certain treatment facilities with more than 16 beds for those suffering from drug addiction.


A number of states have reached out to us asking for relief, and you should expect to see approvals that will unlock treatment for people in need. And those approvals will come very, very fast. Not like in the past; very, very quickly.

Ending the epidemic will require mobilization of government, local communities and private organizations. It will require the resolve of our entire country.

The scale of this crisis of addiction is why, soon after coming into office, I convened a presidential commission, headed by Governor Chris Christie, that has consulted with experts across America to listen, to learn and report back on potential solutions.

We await the final report, which will come in next week. And I know some of the -- some of the report has already been seen, because I want to see it as quickly as possible. And some of the things that they are recommending are common-sense, but very, very important. They're going to have a tremendous impact, believe me -- tremendous impact.

Today, I will detail many of these aggressive steps with my administration -- which we've already taken. After we review and evaluate the commission's findings, I will quickly move to implement approximate (sic) and appropriate recommendations.

But I want the American people to know the federal government is aggressively fighting the opioid epidemic on all fronts.

We're working with doctors and medical professionals to implement best practices for safe opioid prescribing. And we will do something very, very special: We are requiring federally employed prescribers to receive, finally, special training.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a prescription awareness campaign to put faces on the danger of opioid abuse.

I want to acknowledge CVS Caremark for announcing last month that it will limit certain first-time opioid prescriptions to seven-day supplies, among other important reforms. And I encourage other companies to do their part to help to stop this epidemic. The...


The FDA is now requiring drug companies that manufacture prescription opioids to provide more training to prescribers, and to help prevent abuse and addiction, and has requested that one especially high-risk opioid be withdrawn from the market immediately.

We are requiring that a specific opioid which is truly evil be taken off the market immediately.


The U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Homeland Security are strengthening the inspection of packages coming into our country to hold back the flood of cheap and deadly fentanyl, a synthetic opioid manufactured in China, and 50 times stronger than heroin. And in two weeks I will be in China with President Xi, and I will mention this as a top priority.


And he will do something about it.

I am also pleased to report that for the first time the Department of Justice has indicated major Chinese drug traffickers for -- and they have really put very, very strong clamps on them. They've indicted them, the drug traffickers, for distributing fentanyl into the United States.

So, Jeff, thank you very much. Good job. Good job.


And they've been indicted, and we're not going to forget about them, believe me. They are doing tremendous harm to our country.

The Justice Department is aggressively and really valiantly pursuing those who illegally prescribe and traffic in opioids, both in our communities and on the internet. And I will be looking at the potential of the federal government bringing major lawsuits against bad actors.

What they have and what they're doing to our people is unheard of. We will be bringing some very major lawsuits against people and against companies that are hurting our people. And that will start taking place pretty soon.


We're also supporting first responders' and medical professionals' access to the tools they need to prevent deaths through lifesaving overdose medications. At my direction, the National Institute (sic) of Health, headed up by Francis Collins, has taken the first steps of an ambitious public-private partnership with pharmaceutical companies to develop non-addictive painkillers and new treatments for addiction and overdose. So important.


I will be pushing the concept of non-addictive painkillers very, very hard. We have to come up with that solution. We give away billions and billions of dollars a year, and we're going to be spending lots of money on coming up with a non-addictive solution.

We will be asking Dr. Collins in the NIH for substantial resources in the fight against drug addiction.

One of the things our administration will be doing is a massive advertising campaign to get people, especially children, not to want to take drugs in the first place, because they will see the devastation and the ruination it causes to people and people's lives.

Watch what happens if we do our jobs; how the number of drug users and the addicted will start to tumble downward over a period of years. It will be a beautiful thing to see.

I learned myself. I had a brother, Fred. Great guy, best-looking guy, best personality -- much better than mine. (LAUGHTER)

But he had a problem. He had a problem with alcohol. And he would tell me, "Don't drink. Don't drink."

He was substantially older, and I listened to him, and I respected -- but he would constantly tell me, "Don't drink."

He'd also add, "Don't smoke." But he would say it over and over and over again.

And to this day, I've never had a drink. And I have no longing for it. I have no interest in it. To this day, I've never had a cigarette.

Don't worry. Those are only two of my good things. I don't want to tell you about the bad things.


There's plenty of bad things, too.

But he really helped me. I had somebody that guided me. And he had a very, very, very tough life because of alcohol. Believe me; very, very tough, tough life. He was a strong guy, but it was a tough, tough thing that he was going through.

But I learned because of Fred. I learned.

And that's what I think is so important. This was an idea that I had where, if we can teach young people not to take drugs -- just not to take them -- when I see friends of mine that are having difficulty with not having that drink at dinner, where it's literally almost impossible for them to stop, I say to myself, "I can't even understand it. Why would that be difficult?"

But we -- we understand why it is difficult.

The fact is, if we can teach young people -- and people generally -- not to start, it's really, really easy not to take them. And I think that's going to end up being our most important thing: really tough, really big, really great advertising so we get to people before they start, so they don't have to go through the problems of what people are going through.


We are already distributing nearly $1 billion in grants for addiction prevention and treatment, and over $50 million to support law enforcement programs that assist those facing prison and facing addiction.

We have also launched an $81 million partnership to research better pain management techniques for our incredible veterans. And soon...

(APPLAUSE) And, by the way, Secretary Shulkin is here.

You have done an incredible job for our veterans in a very short period of time.


And soon, HHS will launch a task force to develop and update best practices for pain management across the federal government.

I am urging all Americans to help fight this opioid epidemic and the broader issue of drug addiction by participating in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday. When you can safely turn in these dangerous and horrible drugs for disposal, that will be a wonderful, wonderful period of time for you.

All of these actions are important parts of my administration's larger effort to confront the drug addiction crisis in America and confront it head on, straight on, strong.

We're going to do it. We're going to do it.

For too long, we have allowed drugs to ravage American homes, cities and towns. We owe it to our children and to our country to do everything in our power to address this national shame and this human tragedy. We must stop the flow of all types of illegal drugs into our communities.


For too long, dangerous criminal cartels have been allowed to infiltrate and spread throughout our nation. An astonishing 90 percent of the heroin in America comes from south of the border, where we will be building a wall, which will greatly help in this problem.


Will have a great impact.

My administration is dedicated to enforcing our immigration laws, defending our maritime security, and securing our borders.

We also have to work with other countries to stop these drugs where they originate. We have no choice. We have to work with others. We have to get together, because they have similar problems to what we have. Some countries have bigger problems than we have.

Whether that country is China, whether it's a country in Latin America, it makes no difference; we're going to be working with all of them.

We're taking the fight directly to the criminals in places that they're producing this poison.

Here in America, we are once again enforcing the law, breaking up gangs and distribution networks, and arresting criminals who peddle dangerous drugs to our youth.

In addition, we understand the need to confront reality right smack in the face that millions of our fellow citizens are already addicted. That's the reality. We want them to get help they need. We have no choice but to help these people that are hooked and are suffering, so they can recover and rebuild their lives with their families.

We're committed to pursuing innovative approaches that have been proven to work, like drug courts. Our efforts will be based on sound metrics and guided by evidence and guided by results. This includes making addiction treatment available to those in prison and -- to help them eventually reenter society as productive and law-abiding citizens.

Finally, we must adopt the most common-sense solution of all: to prevent our citizens from becoming addicted to drugs in the first place.


We must and are focusing so much of our effort on drug demand reduction. We must confront the culture of drug abuse head on to reduce demand for dangerous narcotics.

Every person who buys illicit drugs here in America should know that they are risking their futures, their families and even their lives, and every American should know that if they purchase illegal drugs, they are helping to finance some of the most violent, cruel and ruthless organizations anywhere in the world.

Illegal drug use is not a victimless crime. There is nothing admirable, positive or socially desirable about it.

There is nothing desirable about drugs. They're bad.

We want the next generation of young Americans to know the blessings of a drug-free life. And this enormous struggle against drug addiction, an opioid epidemic -- it really is that. It is an epidemic -- our greatest hope is the same as it has always been: Through every trial America has encountered throughout our history, the spirit of our people and the strength of our character, we win.

Each of us has a responsibility to this effort. We have a total responsibility to ourselves, to our family, to our country, including those who are struggling with this addiction.

Each of us is responsible to look out for our loved ones, our communities, our children, our neighbors and our own health. Almost every American has witnessed the horrors of addiction, whether it's through their own struggle or through the struggle of a friend, a coworker, a neighbor or, frankly, a family member.

Our current addiction crisis, and especially the epidemic of opioid deaths, will get worse before it gets better. But get better it will. It will take many years and even decades to address this scourge in our society, but we must start in earnest now to combat; national health emergency.

We are inspired by the stories of everyday heroes who pull their communities from the depths of despair through leadership and through love.

Fire Chief Dan Goonan of New Hampshire -- great state -- runs a program, Safe Station, which allows drug-dependent residents to seek help at fire stations at any time.

Jesse and Cyndi Swafford of Dayton, Ohio, have provided a loving, stable home to children affected by the opioid crisis.

I am calling on every American to join the ranks of guardian angels like Chief Noonan (sic) and the Swaffords who help lift up the people of our great nation.

Together, we will care for our citizens, our children, and our orphans and our -- and you know what I'm going to say -- our foster youth. So many -- so many -- but we're going to lift them up and we're going to take care of them.

We will work to strengthen vulnerable families and communities, and we will help to build and grow a stronger, healthier and drug-free society. Together, we will face this challenge as a national family, with conviction, with unity and with a commitment to love and support our neighbors in times of dire need.

Working together, we will defeat this opioid epidemic. It will be defeated. We will free our nation from the terrible affliction of drug abuse, and yes, we will overcome addiction in America. We are going to overcome addiction in America.

We have fought and won many battles and many wars before, and we will win again.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless America. Thank you.


[14:51:23] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: There you have it, a wide- ranging speech there. The president very passionate on staying true to his promise to the American people, as he was Candidate Trump, now President Trump on stamping out the opioid crisis in this country, stamping out addiction. As you just heard him say there, even referencing his trip to China upcoming next month. He wants to address Fentanyl, the drug that's 50 times more potent than heroin. It's coming into the U.S. that people are using from China. He'll address that with President Xi during his Asia swing. Also mentioning the wall. He promised to build the wall to keep the drugs from coming in from the south.

And you talk to other people like Kraig Moss, who is still with us, who lost his son, Rob, a couple of years ago to a heroin overdose. And he says this is too little too late from the president. We'll talk to Kraig in a second and get his response.

But first, to you, Sanjay Gupta.

Wide ranging there.


BALDWIN: Hearing from both the president and the first lady. What did you make of that?

GUPTA: First of all, it's a national public health emergency. That was the big headline. As we talked about before, it's different from a national emergency. The language is important. Because this isn't new dollars likely coming in to help address this opioid crisis. As passionate as he was, there's not necessarily new money coming in. There may be money that's changing hands, but that's a big point of distinction for people within that community.

Also, there is a commission report that's coming out next week that former Governor Chris Christie is heading that commission, and that's going to have specific proposals.

But to your point, he sort of telescoped what many of those things are likely to be, targeting doctors about prescribing habits, targeting companies like CVS who have already said we won't give out more than seven days of opioids, encouraging others to do the same. Talking about China and trying to cut down on the raw ingredients coming from places like China. Talking about the wall and how he thinks that would improve or prevent some of these drugs from coming across. We've done a lot of reporting on that. That's not clear it will make a difference. He also talked about harm reduction, like providing treatment within prisons. Something that I think is a bit surprising that he said. But talking about this idea that we have to reduce harm as a part of treating the crisis of opioids.

Where he spent most of his time, Brooke, that I know you heard at the end, was the demand, and the fact that the addiction, at its core, has to be treated. He didn't talk specifically about what that meant but that's where I spent the most of his last few remarks.

BALDWIN: Kraig Moss, you've been listening. You've been waiting for some semblance of this. In memory and in honor of your son, how did you feel? Is there some hope for you in this?

KRAIG MOSS, LOST SON TO HEROIN OVERDOSE: Well, when I heard the first lady indicate that her husband was using every resource available to him, I have to disagree with that. As far as the president's speech that I just listened to, I think, it was like 85 percent just knowledge. It was an educational speech to people who weren't aware that we had a crisis. I wish that the president had gone into the mechanics more as to how he plans on attacking the heroin epidemic by not providing additional funding. And that's the biggest problem with me.

I commend the president and the first lady for reaching out and addressing this issue and letting the struggling addicts of this country know that there is something going to be happening. But I certainly wish that he had spoken more about how he plans to attack the epidemic by not providing additional funding.

[14:55:03] BALDWIN: Mr. Moss, I know this is personal for you. I really appreciate your voice and time. Thank you, again.

And, Dr. Gupta, as always, thank you.

GUPTA: You bet.

BALDWIN: Coming up on CNN, another major revelation involving dirty work from the presidential election in 2016. This time, we are learning a firm used by the Trump campaign reached out to WikiLeaks hoping to get access to Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Among the myriad of questions now, is this even legal. We'll discuss that coming up.


BALDWIN: You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me.

We begin this hour with bombshell from 2016 presidential race. WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange confirms that, yes, indeed, he was approached by a data firm linked to the Trump campaign in the summer before the election. And sources confirm what was first reported in "The Daily Beast," that the communication was about how WikiLeaks could help this firm, a firm called Cambridge Analytica, actually access the 33,000 e-mails deleted from Hillary Clinton's private e- mail server. Julian Assange not only corroborated the interaction --