President Trump plans to declare the opioid abuse epidemic a national emergency

Randolph Lopez
August 12, 2017

A commission reporting to the president said recently that declaring a state of emergency was its "first and most urgent recommendation". For instance, President Trump made repeal of the Affordable Care Act a top priority, which would threaten healthcare and access to treatment and mental health services for millions of people living with substance use disorder.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., plans to make a statement when the emergency is officially declared, but a representative with his office said he is "encouraged" by Trump's announcement.

Still, Price stressed that "all things" were "on the table for the president". And Trump allies like Attorney General Jeff Sessions have proposed dealing with the epidemic by dusting-off tactics from President Ronald Reagan's 1980s so-called war on drugs.

"As I have said before, I am completely confident that the President will address this problem aggressively and do all he can to alleviate the suffering and loss of scores of families in every corner of our country", he said. Most opioid-overdose deaths are linked to prescription pain pills, though the use of heroin is growing rapidly, accounting for nearly 13,000 deaths in 2015, according to Nida.

Two weeks ago, Jenkins talked with Trump on Air Force One about the drug crisis in West Virginia and the steps needed to move forward.

Incorporate a "warm hand-off" into procedures: "Folks who overdose on opioids (particularly) are brought to emergency room (s), which are generally understaffed and the emergency room's job is to get people stable and out within 24 hours or 48 hours", he said.

"If it opens up more treatment beds, it's a good idea".

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Christie, according to CNN , said last week on behalf of the commission: "We say to the president, you must declare an emergency". Overdoses attributed to these drugs claim an average of 142 lives a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"We know that we don't have a sufficient number of treatment providers across the country".

He said his administration will spend a lot of time, effort and money on the crisis.

Trump has long insisted that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, even if the ounce of prevention takes the form of an enormous, expensive wall along the border between Mexico and the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services declared one in Puerto Rico past year after more than 10,000 Zika cases were reported there.

"It's about time", Bonetti said of the emergency declaration. It was that type of global initiative that helped curb the spread of bird flu.

It's unclear how, exactly, the fight against rampant addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin would change under an emergency declaration.

Mr. Price said this week that most such declarations are for a specific outbreak of an infectious disease, such as the threat from the Zika virus, or are limited geographically to a specific location, like Hurricane Sandy, which hit the New Jersey coast in 2012.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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