President Trump Declares Opioid Crisis a National Emergency

Henrietta Brewer
August 11, 2017

President Donald Trump's decision to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency was met with bipartisan praise from OH politicians and officials. "We're going to draw it up and we're going to make it a national emergency", Trump told reporters from his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., before comparing it to LSD during his youth.

The White House commission examining the nation's opioid epidemic had told Trump last week that declaring a national public health emergency would be an immediate help in combating the ongoing crisis. "We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis".

The crisis became a focus of President Barack Obama's administration during his second term, with the White House announcing $1.1 billion in new funding in 2016 to expand treatment options for people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers. As Governor Christie and the interim report stated, the opioid and heroin crisis now takes more Americans every three weeks than the devastating September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

On Tuesday, Trump stressed the importance of prevention and law enforcement in another briefing on the opioid crisis, but stopped short of declaring the state of national emergency that his own opioid commission has recommended.

New York City is preparing for its second presidential visit of the Trump administration.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Christie thanked Trump for accepting the commission's recommendation.

From a strictly practical standpoint the emergency declaration would have two main effects, according to Keith Humphreys, an addiction specialist at Stanford University (and frequent Wonkblog contributor) who worked in the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Barack Obama.

Such a declaration will allow the government to call more attention to the issue, waive certain regulations and perhaps encourage Congress to provide more funding. "We still have too many people getting medicine at too high a level and for too long", said CDC acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat in an interview with the Times last month. On the other hand, you have to stop new generations of potential drug users from accessing and misusing opioids. "But this is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest", he said.

One potential benefit of declaring an emergency, according to Bradley Stein, a senior natural scientist at the Rand Corporation who studies substance-use disorders, is that Trump would be able to direct Price to alter or eliminate an obscure Medicaid rule that has been around since the 1960s.

Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order May 3 declaring a public health emergency in Florida due to the opioid epidemic.

Other reports by iNewsToday