Belatedly, Trump declares opioid crisis a "national emergency"

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 12, 2017

Former President Barack Obama declared a national emergency in the east coast during Hurricane Sandy. "The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I'm saying officially, right now, it is an emergency", said Trump, answering a reporter's question while on a 17-day "working vacation" in New Jersey.

Mercer said the upcoming declaration could help with the battle against opioids, but cautioned the effort will need money to accomplish. Also, it in theory would empower the health and human services secretary to grant waivers to states who want to increase the number of patients that doctors can see through the Medicaid program to give them addiction treatment services.

In its report, Trump's opioid commission - led by New Jersey governor Chris Christie - recommended against the tough-on-crime measures that Trump has often proposed as solutions to the problem. "We've been asking the state of OH to do this for awhile, numerous governors throughout the United States have declared emergencies, so this is a good first step".

A commission reporting to the president said recently that declaring a state of emergency was its "first and most urgent recommendation".

This is a developing story.

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Still, Price stressed "all things" were "on the table for the president".

Right after a blustering challenge of North Korea to a potentially world-destroying face-off, President Donald Trump also tried to restart the war on drugs between holes of golf. Public health experts have reiterated that emergency declaration is a much required to emancipate American lives.

Prescription painkillers and heroin contributed to some 60,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, a 19 percent surge over the previous year, according to an estimate compiled by the New York Times.

A White House statement issued Thursday evening said that Trump "has instructed his Administration to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic".

On August 2, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a dozen federal prosecutors will be sent to cities ravaged by the opioid epidemic to investigate health care fraud and opioid scams fueling the drug abuse epidemic. "Instead we need to make sure people suffering from addiction have access to the treatment they need to get better". But in an emergency, Section 1135 waivers could be granted for opioid addiction treatment, opening up more treatment options for the states. Before that, the last emergency declaration, unrelated to a natural disaster, was during the 2009-10 flu season, when there was widespread concern over a potential pandemic.

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