Opioid Epidemic A “National Emergency” – Trump
On August 10th President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency stating his administration is drafting papers to make it official.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump said to reporters in New Jersey. “We’re going to draw it up and we’re going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had.”
The President spoke approximately a week after a White House commission on the opioid crisis led by New Jersey Governor Christie recommended he declare it a national emergency.
This declaration can help open up more support as well as resources in order to address the drug overdose epidemic, including additional funding and expanded access to different forms of treatment; giving the government more flexibility in waiving rules and restrictions in order to streamline the process.
Usually national emergencies are declared for short-term crises such as the Zika virus outbreak or a natural disaster. It is not clear what the president’s declaration will signify for a complex, long-term public health problem.
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“We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” Trump stated. “This is a worldwide problem, not just a United States problem.”
Over 100 Americans die of overdoses daily, wrote the commission in a report, stating that “America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
In 2015, opioids were responsible for more than 33,000 deaths as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On August 8th, the president held a “major briefing” on the epidemic, but stopped short of following the commission’s recommendation. He spoke mostly about stopping the influx of drugs into the U.S. and ensuring our youth never start using drugs. He did not speak about access to treatment.