Quick Take on Trump's Opioid Emergency Announcement

Bryan Strickland
October 29, 2017

Local communities who were hoping for new money in President Trump's public health emergency declaration to fight the addiction crisis were disappointed.

Mr Trump's announcement of an emergency will allow the government to redirect resources, but it won't bring new funds to the fight - causing Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi to call his declaration "words without money". A national state of emergency would have provided states access to funding from the Federal Disaster Relief Fund, which is used to help manage response and recovery efforts associated with disasters such as hurricanes. However, without giving Congress the broad-based power to infuse additional funding into opioid recovery and treatment services, especially in New Jersey, one of states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic, we are concerned that the pressure to maintain existing funding sources for now operating programs will pit opioid disorder treatment programs against other worthy initiatives.

Marsh said, "We do need ongoing help from the federal government".

He advocates an "educational full press", enlisting the medical community to find safer ways to manage pain, parents to see the signs of addiction earlier as well as stepping up enforcement of current drug laws.

Reiterating a need for a border wall between the United States and Mexico, Trump said 90% of heroin comes from south of the border.

Trump said the opioid use has affected more than two million Americans nationwide and the number continues to rise. "We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic".

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U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, were present at the White House for the announcement Thursday. The president promised "really tough, really big, really great advertising" to urge Americans not to start using opioids, an initiative reminiscent of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign in the '80s.

By law, federal Medicaid dollars can not go to facilities that treat mental illness or substance use disorders if they have more than 16 beds, a policy that dates to a time when federal officials did not want to be in the practice of reimbursing state psychiatric hospitals.

"Those approvals will come very, very fast", Trump said. Trump also said he would expand telemedicine to address the crisis in rural areas and act to suspend a rule that prevents Medicaid from covering drug-rehab services.

His directive does not on its own release any additional funds to deal with a drug crisis that claimed more than 59,000 lives in 2016, and the president did not request any, although his aides said he would soon do so.

In his remarks, Trump said the U.S. Postal Service and Department of Homeland Security were "strengthening the inspection of packages coming into our country to hold back the flood of cheap and deadly fentanyl, a synthetic opioid manufactured in China".

He added, "I have spoken to the president in depth about this epidemic and the devastating impact it is having on our communities in OH and around the country, and I know he is committed to addressing it in a comprehensive way".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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