President Trump raised eyebrows Wednesday evening when he told members of Congress and health care practitioners that “I think I know the answer” to America’s opioid crisis.
However, the president added that he was “not sure the country is ready for it yet.”
Trump was speaking at an Oval Office ceremony prior to signing legislation aimed at giving Customs and Border Protection agents additional tools to stop the flow of illicit drugs.
“Does anybody know what I mean?” Trump asked the group gathered around his desk. “I think so.” He did not elaborate.
The newly ratified law mandates that CBP agents have portable and fixed chemical screening devices at ports of entry and mail facilities. It also appropriates $9 million for hundreds of new screening devices, laboratory equipment and facilities.
Trump described the law as “a significant step forward” in the fight against powerful opioids such as fentanyl, which he described as “our new big scourge.”
“We used to have the ‘Age of Aquarius.’ Everyone thought that was a big drug age. That was nothing compared to this,” he said, citing a nickname for the 1960s that’s perhaps best associated with a song from the musical “Hair.”
“Drugs are entering our country across our borders and even through our own postal system,” Trump added. “They’re using our postal system and they’re killing our people.”
Trump has made fighting the opioid epidemic a centerpiece of his administration, though critics say he hasn’t dedicated nearly enough money or resources to make a difference.