May 31, 2018 - Health

White House set to "engage and enrage" with opioid ad push

Mike Allen

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The White House, in conjunction with the Ad Council, next week will debut public service messages on opioid dangers that were described to us as having a "shock the conscience" rawness.

What to expect: We hear President Trump, who doesn't appear in the ads, likes the starkness of the classic "Your Brain on Drugs" messages, and wanted a similar toughness. "He thinks you have to engage and enrage," a source said.

  • The messages, which were focus-grouped and are aimed at youths, include links to learn more, or get help for someone you know.
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is Trump's point person on opioids, and she has been working with the Cabinet and Congress.
  • Opioids are a rare policy issue involving both the president and First Lady Melania Trump.

The backdrop: After a speech by Trump on opioids in March, the N.Y. Times said he "offered up more tough talk than he did specifics about his plan, or how he would pay for it."

  • When Trump's budget was released in February, Keith Humphreys, a Stanford drug policy expert who served in the Obama administration, told Vox: "On balance, this is a net cut in health services for people with opioid problems."
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