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116 MIN READ TIME

How Race Made the Opioid Crisis

IN MARCH 2018, President Donald Trump delivered a forty-minute speech about the crisis of addiction and overdose in New Hampshire. Standing before a wall tiled with the words “Opioids: The Crisis Next Door”, Trump blankly recited the many contributors to the current drug epidemic, including doctors, dealers, and manufacturers. Trump droned on mechanically until he reached a venomous crescendo about Customs and Border Protection’s seizure of 1,500 pounds of fentanyl. He brightened as he shifted focus to three of his most hated enemies, first blaming China and Mexico for saturating the United States with deadly synthetic opioids, then moving seamlessly to what he considered one of the great internal threats: “My administration is also confronting things called ‘sanctuary cities’”, Trump declared. “Ending sanctuary cities is crucial to stopping the drug addiction crisis.”

Like so many of Trump’s proclamations, this rhetoric is sheer political fantasy.

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