KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Trump Blaming Mexico For N.H.’s Opioid Crisis Exposes Lack Of Understanding Of The Epidemic

In a phone call with Mexico's leader, President Donald Trump called New Hampshire a "drug-infested den," and placed the blame on Mexican cartels. However, the crisis has its roots in prescription drug abuse, which can come from a local doctor.

The Washington Post: Whoops: Trump Made A Few Mistakes By Calling New Hampshire A ‘Drug-Infested Den’
It sounds obvious, but apparently not obvious enough to President Trump: Don't insult an entire state. Especially one that's critical to you and your party's future election hopes. But just six days after getting inaugurated, Trump went there. “I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den,” Trump told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in a phone call between the two world leaders. The call was private, but The Post's Greg Miller obtained the transcript — plus an equally eyebrow-raising one of a call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (Phillips, 8/3)

The Associated Press: New Hampshire Is No 'Drug-Infested Den,' State Leaders Say
New Hampshire's four-member, all-Democratic Congressional delegation expressed outrage at Trump's comments, as did Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. The governor said the state is making progress in addressing its heroin and opioid crisis on multiple fronts, including greater resources for law enforcement and drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery. "The President is wrong. It's disappointing his mischaracterization of this epidemic ignores the great things this state has to offer," he said in a statement. (8/3)

The New York Times: Trump Called New Hampshire A ‘Drug-Infested Den,’ Drawing The Ire Of Its Politicians
There were an estimated 470 drug overdose deaths in New Hampshire in 2016, compared with 439 in 2015. In 2012, there were 163, according to statistics compiled by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. On Thursday, Mr. Sununu described the opioid epidemic in an email as “one of the worst health crises this state has ever experienced.” He said the government had doubled the resources devoted to prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. (Stack, 8/3)

Concord Monitor: Trump Called N.H. A ‘Drug-Infested Den’; Sununu Says ‘The President Is Wrong’
President Donald Trump is under fire from New Hampshire’s political leadership following a report that he said the state was a “drug-infested den” in a call to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. During the Jan. 27 call, the transcript of which was published by the Washington Post on Thursday, Trump pressured Peña Nieto to stop saying publicly that Mexico would not fund Trump’s proposed border wall, a key campaign promise. (Duffort, 8/3)

The Wall Street Journal though looks at Mexico's ties to the heroin trade —

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Heroin Trade Rooted In Mexico’s ‘Corridor Of Death’
A lethal combination of corruption and criminal gangs fighting for control of a booming heroin trade has turned one two-lane road in Mexico’s Guerrero state into what many call “the corridor of death. ”The road links Chilpancingo, the Pacific Coast state’s capital, to heroin-producing mountains nearby, where rival gangs are vying for a bigger share of the lucrative heroin market in the U.S. Nearly 1,200 people were killed in the state this year through June after 2,200 died last year. Officials say nearly all were linked to organized crime. (Althaus, 8/4)

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