- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2018

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday that President Trump is committed to reducing the number of prescribed opioids and retraining physicians on how to handle pain management.

“He is saying that within three years, we will reduce the prescribing of legal opioids by one-third,” Mr. Azar said on Fox News.

White House officials unveiled their plan Monday on how they intend to combat the nationwide epidemic. Mr. Trump even went so far as to suggest the death penalty for drug dealers a few weeks ago and directed the Justice Department on Monday to make this a possibility under sentencing laws.

Mr. Azar said that there needs to be “serious penalties” and “serious enforcement” for those distributing these drugs, but he did not confirm anything about the death penalty specifically.

He did say part of the plan includes retraining doctors on how to handle pain management in their patients, and to also address the issue of overprescribing both opioids and antibiotics.

“We’re doing research and development in alternative additional pain management tactics,” Mr. Azar said.

Mr. Trump will travel to New Hampshire Monday to unveil his plan in a state that has experienced the crisis first hand.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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