Published: Sat, October 28, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Trump declares opioid crisis a 'national public health emergency'

Trump declares opioid crisis a 'national public health emergency'

Trump's actions have been anticipated since the summer, when an opioid commission Trump convened recommended he declare "a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act".

Trump's declaration, however, does not make additional federal funding available to address the opioid crisis. The Medical Care Journal estimated past year the economic cost of opioid overdoses, dependence and abuse was almost $79 billion.

The president instead will ask the acting secretary of Health and Human Services to declare a public health emergency, which allows the agency to waive restrictions and deploy medical personnel to rural areas where medical options are limited. Many advocates who favor changing Medicaid rules have also noted that Trump's administration has backed cutting and reshaping Medicaid in a way that would lead to fewer people having coverage overall. The president repeated this promise in August when he called the problem a "national emergency". Six states have declared opioid-related public health or disaster emergencies.

He reiterated that specific concern with Dobbs on Wednesday and cited his planned wall along the U.S. -Mexico border as a deterrent.

"Beyond the shocking death tolls, the shocking measure of the opioid crisis involves the families ripped apart and for many communities, a generation of loss potential and opportunity", Trump said.

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The National Institutes of Health is launching a public-private partnership to research and develop non-addictive painkillers.

Trump will deliver a speech Thursday on fighting the opioid crisis. Two other Granite State leaders, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and Democratic Sen.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway echoed President Trump's remarks on drug abuse Thursday, saying the best way to stop people from dying from drug abuse is by "not starting in the first place".

"The President has been focused on addressing the opioid issue since taking office and today's declaration further underscores his recognition of the severity of this issue", the statement read.

"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", said a statement from Portman, who urged Congress to provide more resources to fight the epidemic. "I am hopeful that today's announcement will also signal an ease in regulations so that New Hampshire has the flexibility needed to innovate and better target the Addiction Services funds that we are now receiving into areas of the highest need". Although the epidemic is increasingly being driven by heroin and the illicit use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, many people developed addictions after being prescribed opioids by their doctors for legitimate pain treatment - a fact that first lady Melania Trump highlighted as she told stories of people she had met has she has learned more about the epidemic.

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