Trump claims US is becoming a 'drug-infested nation'

Trump claims US is becoming a 'drug-infested nation'
Trump claims US is becoming a 'drug-infested nation'

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President Donald Trump during a Thursday news conference claimed the United States is becoming a "drug-infested nation."

"Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We're not going to let it happen any longer," Trump said.

It was not immediately clear which illicit substances Trump was referring to in the first solo press conference of his presidency.

A quick, cursory search suggests a single candy bar costs about $1.50 in New York City, depending on the type.

In 2012, a gram of marijuana cost about $18.25, when purchased at the "retail" level, according to a 2015 White House National Drug Control Strategy report. RehabCenter.net puts that figure at $15 a gram, which it says is the amount a "moderate user" will consume in a day.

The 2015 White House report did show that average prices for most drugs have been falling since the 1980s.

It is possible to get small doses of drugs for lower prices. For example, the Baltimore Sun reported in 2015 one dealer was selling $6 capsules that contained a "small amount of diluted heroin."

A study published in December 2016 said that students reported the lowest rates of drug use since the National Institute of Drug Abuse began the survey in 1975. NIDA said, "Across all grades, past-year use of inhalants, heroin, methamphetamine, alcohol, cigarettes, and synthetic cannabinoids are at their lowest by many measures."

While teens may be abusing drugs at a lower rate than previous generations, there is a trend of increasing overdose deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that more than six out of 10 of these deaths involve an opioid and that "prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths."

Common prescription opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine and methadone.

Trump said his administration has ordered the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice "to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs."

Earlier this month, Trump signed an executive order that aims to curb international trafficking by transnational drug cartels.

On Monday, the Treasury Department sanctioned Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, saying he facilitated and coordinated narcotics shipments from his country.

The Department said, "He oversaw or partially owned narcotics shipments of over 1,000 kilograms from Venezuela on multiple occasions, including those with the final destinations of Mexico and the United States."

CNBC

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