Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the opioid epidemic a "plague" that "not only brings death, but a whole parade of horribles," during a speech Thursday. He also said that in order to defeat this plague, the US needs to invest in better law enforcement to combat the drug trade.
"Criminal enforcement is crucial to stopping the violent transnational cartels that smuggle drugs across our borders, and the thugs and gangs who bring this poison into our communities," Sessions said, according to an official transcript of the speech he delivered to Drug Enforcement Administration workers in West Virginia Thursday.
President Donald Trump's administration, like many GOP administrations before, has drawn criticism for focusing too much on law enforcement as a solution to the opioid epidemic, while ignoring other important aspects such as prevention and addiction treatment. Some experts are concerned we will slip back into a 80s and 90s war-on-drugs era mentality—criminalizing drug addicts rather than treating them–which was proven to be ineffective at ending addiction struggles.