02.17.2017
policy

President Trump on Drugs and Candy Bars

Despite any similarity in price and feelings of euphoria, drugs are not candy.

President Trump says the darnedest things. At a White House news conference held Thursday for the president to introduce his selection for labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, among other topics of national interest, Trump took to discussing America’s drug problem. 

In what the Internet has come to know as a unique style of delivering information, the commander-in-chief equated the price of drugs to the cost of candy bars, of which he said are infesting our nation via imports from criminal cartels.

“We’ve ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs,” President Trump said. “We’re becoming a drug infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We are not going to let it happen any longer.”

As the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham pointed out, our nation’s leader isn’t entirely wrong in his assertion that the dissimilar rush-inducing chemical or chocolate and perhaps peanut-butter combos, are actually somewhat close in price. Well, sometimes.

“At the per-pill level, opiate painkillers can sometimes be even cheaper. According to StreetRX.com, a site run by epidemiological data firm Epidemico that crowdsources street price data on a variety of pharmaceuticals, individual pills of hydrocodone or oxycodone can be had for as little as $1 depending on which city you're in. That's roughly the price you'd expect to pay for a Snickers at your local convenience store. . . The other implication of Trump's statement is that drugs are ‘becoming’ cheaper. From a long-term perspective, this is also true. Federal data show that the price-per-gram of heroin, cocaine and meth have been dropping precipitously since the 1980s. The typical purity of those drugs, meanwhile, has increased over the same time period.”

Similarly, discerning an aesthetic-difference between candy and dope can prove difficult, even when the drugs are legal.

Take adzenys, for example. The FDA-approved dissolvable amphetamine marketed to children six and above seeking to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder doesn’t look, and assumedly taste––adzenys are citrus-flavored––all that different from a confectionary that one might procure from a vending machine.

Veritably, pressed ecstasy tablets are oftentimes sold by street and web dealers who dubiously stamp and sell the designer drugs under brand-names appropriated from trademarked products: Red Mastercards. Black Cadillacs. Pink Dolphins. Sometimes the names given to the pills denote strength in each dose, other times it is simply a marketing tactic. This practice has given rise to Internet databases, such as Bluelight.org, where as a means of harm reduction, users share anecdotal experiences with their pill-popping peers. But mostly, the names mean nothing at all.

Marijuana edibles can even resemble traditional sweets. A weed brownie normally looks like, well, a brownie. As a result of the similarity, the weed-infused foods often times end up in unintended hands and mouths; and many states with medical cannabis laws on the books have, or are in the process of, implementing mandatory labeling and packaging rules that designate said drug-desserts as being infused with pot.

To be fair, the president's candy bar remark could have been an off-the-cuff overstatement or the blunt-headed mistake of a speechwriter with a bad case of the munchies. But to be certain: Drugs and candy are not one in the same––a chocolate bar bears no semblance to a Xanax bar. And despite any likeness in cost of goods, rest assured that zero good would come from marketing narcotics and candy in a similar fashion. 

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