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Trump and health department diverge on how to deal with opioid crisis

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 06 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1075
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

A week of debate and policy announcements on America’s opioid crisis seems to have intensified federal efforts to tackle the public health emergency that has become the country’s leading cause of death before the age of 50.

However, a White House summit on 1 March highlighted differences of approach within the administration. Alex Azar, the new health secretary, joined Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb in calling for greatly expanded access to opioid based addiction treatments like methadone, but President Donald Trump suggested that executing drug dealers would alleviate the crisis.

“Some countries have a very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty, and they have much less of a drug problem than …

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