Communities Devastated By Addiction Voted For Trump: This Is How He Repays Them (VIDEO)

The agony of opiate withdrawal is a drawn-out affair that lasts far longer than the gap between an addict’s fix. The fear of the pain, the screams of a rewired brain; we have names for these things. Tolerance, psychological addiction, the co-opting of the mesolimbic reward system.

Just labels, mere words that fail to capture the visceral, fluid horror of being a slave to the opioid.

The epidemic is real. So real that the statistics are depressingly familiar.

It is the leading cause of accidental death in the US; in 2015, there were 55,403 lethal drug overdoses. In the same year, of the 20.5 million Americans aged 12 or older that had a substance use disorder 2 million of them were struggling with prescription pain relievers.

Just over 591,000 of them were using heroin.

Reflections From A Dirty Spoon

If the effects of opioid addiction were limited to the addicts alone it would be little more than a self-inflicted wound. A human tragedy to be sure but a localized one nonetheless. We would lament the wasted lives, the lost opportunities, and we would offer a helping hand.

Alas, addiction does not pause to make way for the oncoming traffic. It rides roughshod over all who stand in its way. Straight as a Roman road, it liquidates lives and communities with the same power and commensurate lack of empathy as a tornado.

There are political consequences of course. There always are.

Evidence that a correlation between communities eviscerated by addiction and Trump’s electoral success is growing. Some of it is anecdotal such as with photojournalist Chris Arnade, who began writing about Trump supporters while documenting addiction.

He said:

“Wherever I see hope exiting, I see Trump and drugs entering.”

Still, there is more to this theory than anecdotes. Shannon Monnat, a sociologist and a demographer at Penn State, has been examining the voting data. She has arrived at some startling conclusions.

Chief among them is that Trump over-performed the most in counties with the highest drug, alcohol, and suicide mortality rates.

Out Of Sight

Politicians are elected based on the promises they offer but yet are judged by the actions they take. Opioid addiction should be a non-partisan issue.

It’s not of course.

Few things are in America.

The problem is not going to go away; we cannot shove addicts under the carpet. Wagging our fingers at them will not work, pep talks will not work. Commercials aimed at preventing people from experimenting do nothing for those already caught in its glacier-cold grip. It’s the ultimate schoolyard bully and if an addict is going to face it down then they are going to need some serious backup.

They are going to need some serious backup.

It’s a medical condition and it needs to be treated as a medical condition. Or not. We can always just live with more shattered lives, more broken communities. More stories of despair that feels indistinguishable from a simple absence of hope.

But lies and indifference are what got us into this mess.

Out Of Your Fucking Mind

It’s all interconnected. We got Trump in the first place thanks in part to those people who decided they just couldn’t take it anymore. Of course, they yearned for change. That’s what desperate people do. Trump represents change; a horrible frightening change for sure but change nonetheless.

Which is the thing that is so uniquely depressing about the whole mess.

Trump’s insistence that he would do something about it was just more hot air, a used car salesman’s pitch that was neither practiced nor polished but seemed all the more genuine for it. Where he promised to change lives all he plans to deliver is indifference. After all, the War on Drugs was ever a war on the poor.

And Trump couldn’t give four flying fucks about them.

Not that he felt that way before the election. He was all about caring for the addicts when votes were at stake.

Recording Sessions

His cabinet choice tells us all we need to know about what direction he intends to take as regards America’s struggle with narcotics.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, his selection of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for Attorney General does little to inspire confidence. Indeed, Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, was quick to dismiss him outright once describing him as a “drug war dinosaur,” before adding:

“Those who counted on Donald Trump’s reassurance that marijuana reforms ‘should be a state issue’ will be sorely disappointed. And not just Democrats but the many Republicans as well who favor rolling back the war on drugs had better resist this nomination.”

Sessions — who once said that the Ku Klux Klan was “OK” until he learned that they smoked marijuana —  is a proponent of harsh sentences for drug offenses. Indeed, he was the chief opponent of recent bipartisan efforts to reduce sentences for drug offenses, stating that:

“…This proposal would provide for leniency for illegal alien drug traffickers.”

He also voted against the bill in the Judiciary Committee.

What we are left with is classic Trump.

Broken promises. Leading to yet more broken lives.

Indeed, according to Bill Piper, Senior Director of Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs:

“Donald Trump’s decision heralds a return to the worst days of the drug war. Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp’ but he’s gone to the very bottom of the drug war barrel for this pick.”

And ain’t that just a kick in the nuts.

Watch Trump’s response to the grieving parent of a heroin addict before the election:

Featured Image by lechenie-narkomanii via Pixabay/Public Domain

I'm a full- time, somewhat unwilling resident of the planet Earth. I studied journalism at Murdoch University in West Australia and moved back to the UK where I taught politics and studied for a PhD. I've written a number of books on political philosophy that are mostly of interest to scholars. I'm also a seasoned travel writer so I get to stay in fancy hotels for free. I have a pet Lizard called Rousseau. We have only the most cursory of respect for one another.