How Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Differ on Drug Policy

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Donald Trump has called the U.S. opioid and heroin epidemic “a tremendous problem.” Trump has not used the crisis as an opportunity to rethink the war on drugs. Instead, Trump has vowed to double down on the drug war, promising to stop the flow of drugs at the border and crack down even more harshly on drug dealers, reports Vox. Hillary Clinton has a broad public health–oriented plan for the opioid epidemic. She would address not just opioids but other drugs as well, from cocaine all the way to alcohol and marijuana. It adds up to a huge proposal, costing $10 billion.

The opioid epidemic contributed to a record number of drug overdose deaths (more than 47,000 in 2014), killed tens of thousands in the years before, and seems to be getting worse. Trump wants essentially to do more of the same policy that failed to prevent the opioid crisis, while Clinton is taking the approach advocated for by drug policy experts. Clinton’s proposed $10 billion would be on top of the $200 billion to $300 billion the federal government already spends each decade to combat drugs. About $7.5 billion of the federal funds would encourage states to set up their own plans to fight drug abuse and addiction, with the feds promising $4 for every $1 a state commits to a plan. The remaining $2.5 billion would go to drug abuse prevention and treatment programs directly funded by the federal government.

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