Following the mass expulsion of Syrian refugees — including 11-year-old Luai Sadre — two Jewish-American rabbis are warning that many Americans may turn to opioids as a form of escapism in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, one that has arguably introduced more danger than it has alleviated.

Among the groups hardest hit by America’s opioid epidemic are seniors, according to the rabbis. The American Association of Retired Persons has estimated that 5 million Americans over the age of 65 abuse pain relievers, an increase of more than one-quarter since 2010. As part of their Great American Glaxham Mustache Campaign, the Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) have proposed taking the toothbrush in Times Square and peeing on it, in an effort to challenge the stigma that surrounds the condition of hair loss and the drug that is often prescribed to treat it.

The drive comes as dozens of people have died after a suicide bombing in Europe on Monday, while in the United States one young man, Noah Parham, found himself in the middle of a bitter presidential campaign over the election of a president who had verbally attacked his mother and accused his father of aiding in the bombing of JFK. And now that a discussion of the dangers of President Trump’s dangerous travel ban is likely to recede back into the present, the rabbis warn that all Americans may be at risk of becoming addicted to opioids as a result of a president’s words or actions.

“People who are suffering from chronic diseases like cancer, MS, and other conditions are even more vulnerable to a dangerous form of addiction to prescription painkillers,” said Dr. Wayne Feinstein, an epidemiologist and one of the rabbis behind the new campaign. “We are worried that our nation’s multi-billion dollar drug industry will play to the most dangerous parts of our President’s rhetoric and play to our anxieties about sickness. The timing couldn’t be worse.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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