Skip to Main Content

Americans are dying of fentanyl overdoses in record numbers, and the Republican presidential candidates are talking tough about their plans to respond.

Many of the plans are startling, even violent: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pledged to “use lethal force” by sending troops to attack cartel operations in Mexico. Former President Donald Trump has called for convicted drug dealers to be sentenced to death. Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, meanwhile, has suggested taking a different tack: Decriminalizing nearly all drugs, including ayahuasca and ketamine.


But for all the candidates’ big rhetoric about the war on drugs — either ending it or escalating it — few of their stump speeches make any mention at all of addiction treatment.

Get unlimited access to award-winning journalism and exclusive events.


Exciting news! STAT has moved its comment section to our subscriber-only app, STAT+ Connect. Subscribe to STAT+ today to join the conversation or join us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Threads. Let's stay connected!

To submit a correction request, please visit our Contact Us page.