President Trump is known to dabble in political hyperbole.
Matter of fact, everyone dabbles in hyperbole — an obvious and intentional exaggeration to get your point across. Think of figures of speech, like it’s raining cats and dogs or he’s older than the hills and others that are not appropriate here.
Politicians are undoubtedly the masters of hyperbole, but it’s important to qualify their statements as that. To do so you need only study their context, tone, intent, the audience and then decide if their meant to be taken literally.
That’s not all that difficult to do. The hard part is when someone falsely claims something out of sheer ignorance or to manipulate support.
Last week, the president told a rally of Tennessee Republicans that opioid numbers were “way down.”
He also said, “We got $6 billion for opioids and (are) getting rid of the scourge that’s taking over our country. We’re getting the word out — bad. Bad stuff. You go to the hospital, you have a broken arm, you come out, you’re a drug addict with this crap.
“It’s way down. We’re doing a good job with it. But we got $6 billion to help us with opioid.”
First of all, it’s uncertain what numbers he was talking about, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Opioid prescriptions are down. According to data in an April study, prescriptions for opioid prescriptions fell almost 9 percent in 2017, the largest drop in 25 years.
The total dosage of opioid prescriptions filled declined by 12 percent for a host of reasons, too.
However, for all opioids, including illegal and prescriptions drugs, the number of fatal overdoses were up 15 percent between 2016-’17.
One other bright spot, if you can call it that, is that though the death toll continues to climb, it is rising at a slower rate than last year.
Emergency room visits for overdoses of opioids rose 30 percent from July 2016 to September 2017. And God knows how many people are not one of these statistics because they received an overdose prevention drug.
As for that $6 billion that Congress green-lighted at the end of March we doubt those funds are gushing into programs, yet. Not to mention that total amount is allocated over a two-year period.
Rallying a party’s faithful with political hyperbole is nothing new. Leaders of both major parties do so regularly.
But Trump’s remarks, alluding to unfounded achievements, were merely hyping false hope.