OPINION | Barry Richard: Trump Shames Baker on Opioid Crisis
New Hampshire has among the worse opioid problems in the nation. President Donald Trump visited Manchester yesterday to address the crisis and recognized Lawrence as a key part of New Hampshire's problem:
"According to a recent Dartmouth study, the sanctuary city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, is one of the primary sources of fentanyl in six New Hampshire counties."
Trump's comments drew an immediate rebuke from Baker:
"The President’s statements denigrating entire cities are plain wrong and our administration is proud to work collaboratively with municipal leaders across Massachusetts to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the state while increasing access to treatment, and prioritizing prevention."
Put a sock in it, Charlie. Just last year, federal drug and immigration officials were in Lawrence to crush what then-acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb described as "one of the largest fentanyl trafficking operations ever seen in Massachusetts."
NECN reported it this way:
"The year-long U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-led investigation, dubbed “Operation Bad Company,” targeted more than three dozen drug traffickers. Early Tuesday morning, approximately 250 federal, state and local law enforcement agents fanned out across the city of Lawrence and elsewhere.
Twenty-seven of the 30 people who were indicted have been arrested. Another 20 face charges through the Essex County District Attorney’s Office. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have arrested four others who are pending deportation. All of the lead defendants were in the U.S. illegally."
The governors of Maine and New Hampshire have singled out Lawrence as a contributing factor to the opioid crisis in their states.
Baker got elected on a campaign promise to solve the state's opioid crisis. We still have one. New Hampshire has one, in large part thanks to Massachusetts. Baker needs to end his obsession with Donald Trump and put the interests of the people of Massachusetts and New Hampshire ahead of his own political interests.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.