MANCHESTER, NH – Word on the street is that President Donald Trump is planning a trip to Manchester – possibly March 19 – to get a closer look at Safe Station, a program which he has praised on national television for its innovation in battling the opioid crisis in the midst of a national epidemic.
Just last week the White House boosted a social media post about Safe Station, featuring Fire Chief Dan Goonan. Add to that, a statement made by Trump on March 1 (see below) at a White House Opioid Summit, during which he said he was getting ready to roll out a federal drug policy.
Could Trump be planning to make a big announcement here?
Although details were slim about the impending visit, we’ve confirmed that Secret Service was sniffing around Central Fire Station last week. We also have learned that Vice President Mike Pence may be following Trump to New Hampshire a few days later, to meet with Gov. Chris Sununu and attend the March 22 fundraising dinner for his gubernatorial campaign.
Our sources did not know if the high-profile visitors would be bringing any big checks with them to help support addiction recovery services.
Shortly after taking office, Mayor Joyce Craig called together local leaders and care providers to figure out the way forward, after Serenity Place abruptly closed due to financial strain. Serenity Place had been the main receiver of those who entered Safe Station for help. Since then, other agencies are picking up the slack, and Craig has emphasized that people in crisis need to find resources best suited to their needs in their own communities, as the city should not be bearing the financial burden of care for a statewide crisis.
Although Safe Station remains a resource and an open door to recovery for anyone seeking help, Craig and others have been working on ways to make sure people around the state know how to access services, no matter where they live, including promoting the statewide crisis hotline, 1-844-711-HELP (4357).
Below is an excerpt from President Trump’s remarks on March 1 during a White House Opioid summit. This is where Trump said he would be rolling out a policy in the next three weeks.
“The administration is going to be rolling out policy over the next three weeks, and it will be very, very strong. I’ve also spoken with Jeff [Sessions] about bringing a lawsuit against some of these opioid companies. I mean, what they’re doing and the way — the distribution. And you have people that go to the hospital with a broken arm, and they come out and they’re addicted. They’re addicted to painkillers, and they don’t even know what happened. They go in for something minor, and they come out and they’re in serious shape.
… It’s a problem that’s growing. And drugs are a similar but different problem, in the sense that we have pushers and we have drug dealers that don’t — I mean, they kill hundreds and hundreds of people, and most of them don’t even go to jail. You know, if you shoot one person, they give you life, they give you the death penalty. These people can kill 2,000, – 3,000 people and nothing happens to them.
And we need strength with respect to the pushers and to the drug dealers. And if we don’t do that, you’re never going to solve the problem. If you want to be weak and you want to talk about just Blue Ribbon Committees, that’s not the answer. The answer is you have to have strength and you have to have toughness. The drug dealers, the drug pushers are — they’re really doing damage. They’re really doing damage.
Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty. And, by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do. So we’re going to have to be very strong on penalties. Hopefully, we can do some litigation against the opioid companies. I think it’s very important because a lot of states are doing it, but I keep saying, if the states are doing it, why isn’t the federal government doing it? So that will happen. So that will happen.
In the meantime, I just want to pay my respects to everybody. Some of you have gone through a lot. Many of you in this room have gone through a lot, more than anyone can imagine. We’re with you a hundred percent. We’re fighting for you, and we’re going to win. We’re going to win. Thank you very much… – President Donald Trump