Trump: US must get 'much tougher on drug dealers and pushers'

Trump: US must get 'much tougher on drug dealers and pushers'
© Toya Sarno Jordan

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE said the country must get “much tougher on drug dealers and pushers” to end the opioid epidemic in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Trump also said the pillars of his immigration plan will “support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction."

"Never before has it been like it is now. It is terrible. We have to do something about it,” the president said.

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A key element of Trump's plan is building a wall along the southern border. Trump has said a wall would help prevent drugs from entering the U.S.

The president also gave a nod to treatment for addiction.

“My administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need, for those who have been so terribly hurt,” he said.

Advocates for those fighting addiction have said a law enforcement approach isn’t enough. They say combating the increasing rate of opioid deaths needs a comprehensive approach that includes tools to promote prevention, treatment and recovery.

The administration has declared opioids a public health emergency. But some have been critical of that declaration, saying the first three months did not lead to new regulations that could have helped curb the crisis.

The president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump breaks ground on new White House tennis pavilion Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices | Supreme Court abortion case poses major test for Trump picks | Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown Kroger to stop sales of e-cigarettes at stores MORE invited a guest who has a personal connection to the opioid epidemic to the State of the Union, and he sat next to the first lady.

Police officer Ryan Holets, of Albuquerque, N.M., and his wife adopted a baby from a woman with an opioid addiction.