The opoid epidemic is one crisis whose very handling has become a crisis in and of itself within the Trump administration. First the epidemic was assigned to son-in-law Jared Kushner, as part of his massive portfolio, encompassing everything from peace in the middle east to repairing bridges and sewers. Kushner did exactly nothing with the issue, so the buck was passed to wife Melania, who told a standing ovation crowd last month about the tear jerking stories she had heard from the relatives of citizens who had succumbed to opoids, as Melania praised Donald and pledged herself to solve the matter. Apparently Melania as well is too engrossed in macabre holiday decorations or whatever else excites her fancy to deal with the issue, so now the buck passed Wednesday to none other than Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway. Mother Jones Magazine:
Conway will “coordinate and lead the effort from the White House,” according to Sessions. “I think her appointment represents a very significant commitment from the president and his White House team.”
Conway has “zero background” on drug policy, says Keith Humphreys, a Stanford psychiatry professor and former Obama drug policy advisor, adding that it’s unclear what this position entails. The White House has reportedly clarified that Sessions was simply acknowledging a role Conway was already playing in the administration’s response to the epidemic, according to a Politico reporter.
Trump has yet to install a drug czar, or the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which typically leads the White House’s drug policy efforts. Earlier this fall, Trump nominated Rep. Tom Marino (R-Penn.) to the position, but Marino withdrew from consideration after Mother Jones and other outlets reported on Marino’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry and his track record sponsoring legislation that weakened the Drug Enforcement Agency. Last month, Trump declared the opioid epidemic to be a public health state of emergency, falling short of the national state of emergency status that would open up federal disaster funding.
Kellyanne helpfully mentioned that it “takes a four letter word, w-i-l-l” to solve the opoid epidemic. She also opined that “if people don’t start taking drugs to begin with,” that would be the best solution of all. Conway joins Ben Carson and Betsy DeVos, and a host of others, in being appointed in true Peter Principle style, to a post for which she is glaringly unsuited.