Lawrence mayor calls out Trump for comments made during opioid speech

LAWRENCE, Mass. – Lawmakers in Lawrence are fighting back after the city was mentioned by President Donald Trump during a speech about opioids in Manchester, New Hampshire.

During the speech, Trump called out the Massachusetts city as the source of New Hampshire’s opioid problems.

“The Sanctuary City of Lawrence, MA is one of the primary sources of fentanyl in 6 New Hampshire counties,” Trump said.

Following that speech, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera told reporters that while there are drug issues in the city, singling it out was an unnecessary and divisive move.

“Even though we have a drug supply problem -- we have a drug dealing problem in Lawrence -- we are attacking it the best we can with the resources we have,” Rivera said.

Trump cited a survey of drug users compiled by Dartmouth College. A majority of those who were interviewed said they got their fentanyl primarily from Lawrence and Lowell.

Mayor Rivera said the president should be looking at the number of users, not just dealers.

“The real solution is on the treatment side of it because if I were a vindictive person -- the people who come to use it come from our place -- they don’t come from our community the user community from within our community is very small,” Lawrence’s mayor said.

In his speech Monday, President Trump did speak about funding treatment. He promised billions of dollars for more recovery beds and a public awareness campaign.

But he also spoke about renewing his commitment to take funding away from cities like Lawrence, Lowell and Boston.

"Every day, sanctuary cities release dangerous individuals, drug dealers, traffickers, gang members back into our communities. They're protected by these cities,” Trump said.

That statement is simply not true, Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque said.

“Whether they are documented or undocumented – if you’re committing a crime we are going to arrest you,” Vasque told reporters.

According to Rivera, the president is struggling to find a solution to the problem because he doesn’t understand the problem.

“The face of the opioid crisis is not what he wants it to be some boogeyman that came across the border that speaks a different language,” he said.

Rivera specifically invited president trump to visit a non-profit in the city that helps the homeless and those who are dealing with addiction issues.