The opioid epidemic causes more than 34,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone, and — as “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah pointed out Thursday night — the number of overdose deaths has quadrupled since 2000.
But Trump has this problem cinched up since announcing earlier in the day his — and the federal government’s — commitment to stemming the national crisis.
Or at least we’ve been led to believe. Enter Trevor Noah with his explainer:
The way we got here, said Noah, is doctors were handing out pills for anything: “backaches, tooth pain, FOMO [fear of missing out], whatever.”
Last year Congress unanimously passed a law greatly cutting DEA’s power to go after these shady distributors, said Noah on Thursday’s broadcast, “because of the thing they’re addicted too: money” — the host pointing to massive amounts of money pharmaceutical lobbyists spend in D.C.
But there’s one man who gets it: Trump, Noah facetiously teased, pointing to when the president called the opioid crisis a national emergency on Thursday.
“Trump finally came through. Give him around an applause,” said Noah, who quickly called POTUS out on his turn of phrase.
You see, it’s a subtle change of semantics, Noah said. There’s a difference between a national emergency and a national public health emergency — which amounts to the difference between access to billions of dollars and a few thousand. Indeed, The New York Times reports “Mr. Trump fell short of fulfilling his promise in August to declare ‘a national emergency’ on opioids, which would have prompted the rapid allocation of federal funding to address the issue.”
Watch Noah’s breakdown in the video above.