Trump Threatens to Sue Opioid Companies, Targets Foreign Drug Traffickers

Caleb Tolin | August 17, 2018

During a Cabinet meeting, President Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into opening a lawsuit against opioid production companies and explore legal ramifications for drug traffickers from China and Mexico, a response to a growing opioid crisis in the United States.

"I’d like us to look at some of the litigation that’s already been started with companies," Trump said to Sessions during the meeting. "Rather than just joining them, I’d like to bring a federal lawsuit against those companies.”

When referring to drug traffickers from China and Mexico, President Trump said that these countries are “sending their garbage and killing our people” and that he thinks that “it’s almost a form of warfare.”

In the Fall of 2017, the Trump administration announced their decision to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency. Some medical professionals want him to go even further and request that he declare it a “national emergency.”

“The magnitude of current appropriations is small relative to the epidemic’s costs,” the authors wrote. “Although many longer-term actions—including prescriber education, pain therapy alternatives, heightened oversight of illicit opioids, and robust addiction therapy—are needed, emergency steps can and should be taken to address the opioid-related imminent harms.”

Just last year alone, over 72,000 people died in the United States from opioid overdoses last year. According to the Guardian, “The CDC estimates that 72,287 people died from overdoses in 2017, an increase of about 10% from the year before.”

"Well on drugs, you directed us to reduce opioids by 30%. We believe that is achievable. We believe there is at least that much abuse in the opioid prescriptions,” Session said. “We've indicted 170 physicians who have been prescribing, unlawfully, people who are addicted to drugs."

Currently, a federal lawsuit as not been filed and the Trump administration’s next moves are unclear and depends on the coming announcements from Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice.