by Valarie Blake, Associate Professor of Law, West Virginia University College of Law
President Trump’s speech on the opioid epidemic last week was seen by many as an unproductive harkening back to the war on drugs. Trump focused on illicit street drugs, decrying criminals who deal those drugs and arguing that his border wall will stem the flow of heroin from Mexico. He stressed personal responsibility on the part of drugs users and threatened criminal liability, also promising a national campaign to discourage opioid abuse akin to President’s Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign in the 1980s. Meanwhile, his declaration of a national public health emergency came without any commitment of federal funding.