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A “Drug-infested den”? New Hampshire and the Trump transcript

A “Drug-infested den”? New Hampshire and the Trump transcript

“Drug abuse has always been a challenge for New Hampshire, but, with the opioid crisis, it has reached epic proportions”

The transcript of President Trump’s call with Mexico’s President Peña Nieto, leaked and then published by the WaPo, contained some remarks about New Hampshire that generated a lot of criticism. The context in which Trump raised the issue was in speaking to the Mexican president about the problem of drugs supplied by Mexico:

“We have a massive drug problem, where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy,” Trump said. “I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den.”

Predictably, New Hampshire’s Democrats are up in arms about what Trump said about their state. But let’s take a look at some of the facts:

According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Hampshire ranks No. 2 in the nation behind West Virginia for the number of opioid-related deaths relative to its population. New Hampshire also ranks No. 1 in fentanyl-related deaths per capita…

From February to June 2016, the opioid-related emergency department in New Hampshire saw its visits increase by a whopping 70 percent.

New Hampshire Manchester Fire Department Chief Daniel Goonan told the publication that about half of his job is now dedicated to dealing with the opioid outbreak.

Trump has been consistent in talking about this, particularly during his campaign for the New Hampshire primary, which he won handily. It was his first primary win, and I’m convinced that it’s what he was referring to when he mentions to Peña Nieto that he “won” the state (which he lost narrowly to Clinton by .3% in the general).

In January of 2016, a month before the NH primary, PBS and some NH Democrats were singing this tune:

JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first, say New Hampshire, and most people in the political world think first-in-the-nation primary, coming up February 9.

But, these days, there’s another, more disturbing distinction for the Granite State, the expectation that last year’s fatal drug overdoses will hit a record 400 deaths.

Today, presidential candidates and state political leaders gathered for a forum to tackle addiction and the growing heroin crisis.

I traveled to New Hampshire last month to get a firsthand look at the epidemic and its repercussions…

GOV. MAGGIE HASSAN, D-N.H.: The opioid epidemic is really our most pressing public health and public safety issue right now.

DONNA SYTEK, Former New Hampshire House Speaker: Drug abuse has always been a challenge for New Hampshire, but, with the opioid crisis, it has reached epic proportions.

There’s much much more at that link, including the startling statistic that among NH’s population of about 1.3 million people, 100,000 are in need of drug treatment, and the state is next to last in the nation in terms of access to help.

“Drug-infested den” doesn’t seem like such an inaccurate description.

That’s basically the same opinion of New Hampshire’s drug woes that Trump demonstrated during his 2016 campaign when speaking in that state and elsewhere. This was from January of 2016:

Donald Trump got personal on Friday in answering a father’s question about stopping the rampant heroin epidemic.

“I lost my son two years ago to a heroin overdose,” a man told Trump at a rally in Urbandale, Iowa, his first event after Thursday night’s debate.

Trump asked whether the man was from Iowa; he responded that he was from Owego, New York, an upstate town in the center of the state that has been no stranger to the influx of heroin in recent years.

“Well, you know they have a tremendous problem in New Hampshire with the heroin. Unbelievable. It’s always the first question I get, and they have a problem all over. And it comes through the border,” the GOP presidential candidate said. He then repeated his most famous pledge: “We’re going to build a wall, number one, we’re going to build a wall, and it’s going to be a real wall.”

And here’s Trump speaking in Farmington, New Hampshire shortly before the New Hampshire primary:

Speaking to a capacity crowd of 1,000 at Farmington High School, Trump said his signature proposal, to build a wall across the country’s border with Mexico, would stem the flow of illicit drugs into the state.

“The question I get just about number one when I come up to New Hampshire: the drugs that are pouring in,” Trump said. “They’re coming across the Southern border and we are going to stop it.”

Three days before the primary, Trump was hammering away at the theme:

Donald Trump on Saturday again vowed to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border — this time arguing that it would help stem New Hampshire’s “drug epidemic.”

“New Hampshire has a tremendous drug epidemic,” Trump says. “I am going to create borders. No drugs are coming in. We’re going to build a wall…”

Shortly before the general election, Trump was still talking about it:

Trump said he specifically heard concerns about the drug epidemic from residents in New Hampshire when he was campaigning during the primary.

Trump said the state holds a special place in his heart because it handed him his first victory.

Trump told the crowd that “New Hampshire, more than any other place, taught me about the flow of drugs into this country. I never knew it was so bad.”

Trump noted his shock at the state’s drug issue given its beautiful scenery.

“You look at the beautiful little roadways, lakes and trees, and everything is so beautiful, the trees, you say, how could they have a drug problem here, it doesn’t fit,” he said.

“If I go all the way, we are going to stop the inflow of drugs into New Hampshire and into our country,” Trump said.

Trump’s remarks to Peña Nieto about drugs in New Hampshire were consistent with his remarks during the campaign, and consistent with the facts. That state’s primary win was a big deal to Trump, and he felt it was inextricably tied into his emphasis on the state’s drug problem, which was also tied into his rhetoric about Mexico and the wall.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Lost me at “judy woodruff.”

In any event, there is no cure for the ‘opiod’ crisis. As technology and communications make the world smaller and even bootleg drugs more available, drug abuse is strictly a character/societal issue, the same as alcohol use and abuse.

The real elephant in the room is legalization (actually, the normalization) of marijuana.

Opiods, heroin, and booze do not change one’s brain psychology. Pot does. Insidiously.

We have enough problems with our corrupt government, the treasonous democrat party, and the corrupted GOPe. But an America with its citizenry addled in its collective cognitive functioning, will become Germany under Merkel.

Marijuana: The brain changer

Long Term Effects of Marijuana on the Brain

    Side effects of opiods:

    “Common side effects of opioids include constipation, sleepiness, nausea and vomiting, clouded thinking, respiratory problems, sexual dysfunction.”

    Sounds like the entire GOPe is hooked on opioids, doesn’t it?

    Ragspierre in reply to | August 6, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    “Opiods, heroin, and booze do not change one’s brain psychology.”

    Gawd, you really are an idiot.

    What they all do is change one’s physiology.

    You don’t even understand terms you ATTEMPT to use.

    People die from withdrawal from the substances you name. I’ve never heard of anyone dying from cannibis withdrawal. (Note here that I do not use, and do not advocate the use of cannibis).

    I just can’t even believe…

      Another insightful comment.

      Be honest: what drug was it that destroyed your mind?

      alaskabob in reply to Ragspierre. | August 7, 2017 at 2:25 am

      Opiate withdrawal …. going cold turkey is not dangerous. You may think you are dying and later fearful you won’t die but you won’t. Alcohol withdrawal is dangerous …the DT’s. Alcohol rots the brain. Takes about 10 years of a fifth a day go nail the liver. Mary Jane does screw up the brain.

        Mac45 in reply to alaskabob. | August 7, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        Cold turkey withdrawal from opioids is virtually impossible to do. Physiological changes are so profound that people can and do die from withdrawal. Hence why the only approved treatment for opioid addiction is drug replacement therapy. While withdrawal effects from long term heavy alcohol usage can be fatal, they rarely are, unless there are other physical infirmities.

          david7134 in reply to Mac45. | August 7, 2017 at 5:05 pm

          Have you ever treated withdrawl? I have, cold turkey is the general way, especially when sending the patients to prison. Where are you getting your information? It is wrong.

      tphillip in reply to Ragspierre. | August 7, 2017 at 9:20 am

      > People die from withdrawal from the substances you name [Opiods, heroin, and booze].

      The only drug you can die from actual withdrawal is alcohol. Opioid withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant, but won’t kill you. If you have any medical journals showing the opposite please cite them. It would be interesting reading.

      >What they all do is change one’s physiology.

      How so, and be specific. Abuse of such substances can damage one’s body (The liver is usually the first to go) but it does not change it.

        Ragspierre in reply to tphillip. | August 7, 2017 at 9:51 am

        Well, to begin, heroin IS an opioid.

        The physiological changes are in the nature of changes in brain and nervous system chemistry. If you want medical jounal reference, go find one.

        You may be correct in that opiod withdrawal is seldom fatal. But it certainly CAN be. Suicides are not an uncommon risk. The primary danger is in their abuse, and a relapse into use after withdrawal is OFTEN fatal.

        Also, SwineReports listing of “side effects” is comically false. One of the side effects of abuse is death.

        “The only drug you can die from actual withdrawal is alcohol.”

        You may want to reconsider that; cocaine withdrawal might not lead directly to death, but it can produce paranoia and depression that, again, not uncommonly results in suicide.

        Certainly chronic and heavy abuse of cannibis also alters brain chemistry. And young adults/adolescents are at greater risk. But, again, I’ve never heard of anyone dying from “cannibis withdrawal”.

        And all of this is a really stupid deflection from the root piece by neoneocon, which I figure was SwineReport’s intent.

        david7134 in reply to tphillip. | August 7, 2017 at 4:33 pm

        I have with drawn a number of patients from drugs without any issue you are describing.

      Mac45 in reply to Ragspierre. | August 7, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      All true.

      The problem with cannabis is not the mildly psychological addictive properties or physical dependence [which is less that that of nicotine]. The problems are the short term depression of normal inhibitions, the altering of physical perceptions, lung dysfunction brought about by long term use and the potential of young cannabis users to graduate to the use of far more serious drugs.

      There is only one recognized use for cannabis, at the moment, altering the perception of reality. This is the same reason for the use of alcohol. And, it presents similar problems. The rate of accidents increases, while under the influence of cannabis. Productivity is reduced. Medical costs directly and indirectly associated with the use of cannabis increase. And, social functioning is reduced. Now, as a society, we all end up paying for the use of alcohol. And, as we appear to be saddled with alcohol as a social drug, why do we need another one with similar downsides?

      Then there is the problem with legalization of drugs for recreational use. When the main argument for legalizing a drug which has been illegal for nearly a century is simply because some people want to use it, then it becomes much harder to argue against legalizing all drugs, for personal use. And, while this extreme; libertarian ideal sounds good, it is a recipe for societal disaster.

DieJustAsHappy | August 6, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Maybe those who object to President Trump’s remarks would prefer him using something like pharmaceutically-challeged rather than “drug-infested den” to describe New Hampshire.

Got as far as Democrats up in arms and lost interest.

The problem is that we don’t have an opioid crisis. There are no safe drugs for pain other than opiates. Take NSAIDs for pain, expect a life on dialysis and GO bleeding, as well as increased risk of MI. Tyelenol, cirrhosis. In other countries you can buy these drugs and more across the counter, yet the US is the only country that has difficulties. We need deregulation so that you can buy any medication across the counter.

    Mac45 in reply to david7134. | August 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Of course we have an opioid crisis. This is not about the use of prescribed opioids for pain control. We already have sufficient safeguards in that area, unless physicians choose to prescribe these drugs improperly or illegally. The problem is with the non-prescription use of these drugs for recreational purposes by the layman.

    In the late 1800s, use of opioid medications and “tonics” led to serious societal problems. These continued into the early 1900s, through the use of popular medicines such as laudanum and paregoric. Opium, and its derivatives were limited to dispensing under a prescription only in 1914 [with the exception of certain paregorics which had a very small amount of opium in the formula]. This did not stop the problems associated with these drugs, but it did mitigate them. Heroin was still used, but was not a significant problem for years. Morphine addiction was the next big thing, following WWII. Much of this was the result of the use of the drug as a pain reliever during and following the war. Heroin use rose again in the late 1950s and into the 1970s, as it was easier to smuggle the product from third world countries than it was to obtain the commercially produced morphine. Heroin use declined in the 1980s, as cocaine was more readily available and thought to be less dangerous than heroin. For the last 20 years, we have had another opioid epidemic, mostly involving commercially produced pain medication. However, as those sources have become harder top access, we are seeing a rise in the use of heroin again.

    The human animal has always had a desire to use chemical compounds to alter his perception of reality. The problem is that most people have no idea what the long term affects of using such chemical compounds are. Just as the woman who mixes household bleach with ammonia to produce, what she believes to be a stronger cleaning solution, produces chlorine gas and chloramine vapor, which can cause serious injury and death, people take overdoses of drugs as well as mix drugs in ways which cause serious health problems. And, as the drugs become more powerful, they also become more dangerous for the laymen to use.

      david7134 in reply to Mac45. | August 7, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Nice run down of history, but has nothing to do with a thing. Our government is excessive in its activity against drugs to the point that patients are not getting adequate treatment and the cost to chronic pain patients is excessive. This for no reason at all. All drugs should be across the counter and the government out of our lives.

Trump hurt their feelings. Time for a “liberal – sorry if you misunderstood my remarks” apology.

Somebody’s certainly putting a lot of effort into whipping up some hysteria du jour.

Take it from someone who lives in the area; New Hampshire simply isn’t that exciting.

    Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | August 7, 2017 at 12:17 am

    You’re another idiot.

    I have a nurse daughter who worked in neighboring Vermont.

    Drug use provided the health-care workers with plenty of ‘excitement’ on an hourly basis.

    david7134 in reply to tom swift. | August 7, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Tom, I totally agree with you. The only crisis is people needing these drugs not being able to get them and the excessive expense that patients are charged for having chronic pain. The head of my regional drug enforcement was in my office as a patient and he said there is no drug activity of this nature going on in our area. This is also not something caused by US doctors prescribing excessively. These drugs are coming from Mexico. What I don’t understand is why many countries sell these drugs across the counter like aspirin and have less difficulty than we do.

    YellowSnake in reply to tom swift. | August 7, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Then NH isn’t a good reason for building a wall.