The news, and the skews, in the national media
President Trump has declared that his administration is getting serious about the opioid epidemic several times since taking office. But he has repeatedly failed to offer a substantive plan – and he has floated at least a few truly absurd ideas. He did it again this week. The president went on at length about his preposterous proposal to fight the scourge of drugs by executing drug dealers – an idea that many experts say would not stand up in court and would do little to end this epidemic… It was Mr Trump playing his greatest ‘law and order’ hits – as usual, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.
New York Times editorial, 20 March
It would be wrong to legalise recreational cannabis use, particularly given the evidence that excessive use can cause mental health problems. But that should not prevent scientists and doctors from developing useful medicines to help people who are suffering.
Scotsman editorial, 17 March
So long as we leave decisions on drugs that are both medicines and recreational substances to the Home Office we won’t progress, as they seem unable or unwilling to see beyond their failed ‘ban everything’ strategy.
David Nutt, Spectator, 19 March
Hepatitis C could be the UK’s next big public health success story. But if we want to eliminate it by 2025 we need a concerted and coordinated effort to find undiagnosed patients and treat them. This is the biggest obstacle we face so it requires everyone to join forces, from homelessness and drug and alcohol charities to GPs and public health directors, and from sexual health clinicians to prison staff. I welcome the approach that NHS England is taking to identify those living with the virus and our work must be carefully coordinated to ensure no areas lose out. Vulnerable patients should be automatically tested at their GP, while testing should also be readily available at sexual health clinics and pharmacies – and amongst the prison population.
Steve Ryder, Telegraph, 20 March
Some users might be more susceptible than others to the trap of addiction, but Ant [McPartlin] and others like him are not in the grip of an uncontrollable disease that is to blame for all their woes. They are not victims, and it doesn’t help them to be treated as helpless amoeba at the mercy of their own desire. This whole concept of addiction as a disease originated in the US not very long ago, where it was classified as such so that people could get it covered by their medical insurance policies. If it was a disease, went the reasoning, then you could get treatment for it, and then you could get that treatment paid for. However, it is your choice as an adult whether or not you swallow the drink and ingest the drugs that exacerbate your condition.
Jan Moir, Mail, 23 March