Thursday, November 30, 2017


Political Mayhem Thursday: Nothing says "I don't care" quite like putting Kellyanne Conway in charge of opioid abuse

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday announced that pollster Kellyanne Conway, 50, counselor to President Donald Trump, would oversee White House efforts to combat the opioid overdose epidemic.
More than 64,000 people died in the US of drug overdoses in 2016, largely from opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers. Trump declared a national public health emergency over the crisis in October, and calls have emerged for an opioids "czar" to lead crisis response efforts in the last year.
Looks like Conway has the job. Trump has asked her "to coordinate and lead the effort from the White House," Sessions said at a news conference in remarks that went beyond prepared ones from the event.
Where to start with this?
The opioid crisis is real, and it is serious. There are a lot of people (I am one of them) who have devoted a lot of time to understanding this crisis and thinking about possible solutions. There are criminologists, sociologists, addiction specialists, emergency room doctors and other experts who would be wonderful in this position.
And Kellyanne Conway?
By profession, she is a pundit and a pollster. She ran Trump's campaign after supporting Ted Cruz. Her prior clients included Newt Gingrich, Dan Quayle, and Mike Pence.  Most recently, she has been accused of repeatedly breaking ethics laws. It was Conway who added the term "alternative facts" to our national lexicon. 
Maybe she will use her access to power to bring change-makers into the equation. Maybe. 
It's been a pretty weird week, hasn't it?

So I am curious what some of your ways of attacking this crisis are. Supposedly this crisis is all around us yet I have not met anyone directly impacted by it or been made aware of such. I guess I should count myself lucky. My life is not so miserable that I feel I must numb myself to the reality around me.
Some areas are impacted much more than others. The death totals are shocking in the worst areas.

I have written pretty extensively about this-- some of those papers are on the SSRN link on the home page for the blog.
Or there is a shorter version in the Forbes article here:

Thanks - a little lite reading for the weekend.
I have listened to some programs that talk about the problem in Dayton, Ohio. The number of people in the morgue due to opioid death is staggering.

Trump seems to think it's okay to govern by having a tiny circle of yea-saying staff and family around him--getting tinier--whom he trusts and to whom he tosses everything, no matter what it is. Kind of like the Mafia . . .
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