This week on counterspin: Donald Trump has called the opioid crisis a public health emergency, which sounds like a welcome change from when, for example, crack cocaine was called a reason to put its users in prison, and maybe their children too, for good measure. But at the same time, Trump’s call for a “war” on opioid use and a “just say no” media campaign, sound like very old—and very discredited—ideas indeed. What’s going on, and what’s a better way forward? We’ll talk with Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of Drug Policy Alliance.
Also on the show: New York Times columnist Bret Stephens says combating rape on college campuses is “a laudable goal,” “even if evidence of its epidemic proportions is sketchy and good numbers are all but impossible to come by”—a statement he immediately followed with what he presumably believes to be a rare “good number”: “In 2015, 89 percent of colleges and universities reported zero incidents of rape.” That’s the paper of record’s columnist’s basis for describing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s change in official guidance on campus sexual assault as an end to “a campus witch hunt.”
So while some media imagine that the Harvey Weinstein scandal represents a serious rethink about rape culture, others are saying, there’s really nothing to see here. Alyssa Peterson is state organizer with the group Know Your IX—as in Title IX. We’ll talk with her about DeVos’s approach to campus sexual assault.