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Opioid Panel Wants President Trump to Declare a National Emergency

02 August, 2017, 00:49 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • PoliticsTrump Commission Calls for ‘State of Emergency’ Over Opioids Bruce Barcott

Christie, who has made combating the abuse in New Jersey his top priority in his final year in office, drew on his own experience as chief executive and is recommending Trump adopt some of the ideas he's put into action here.

Monday's report came a couple of weeks after a group of U.S. Senate Democrats wrote to the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy urging him to "consider important initiatives that could help deliver faster relief to millions of Americans".

Christie and his team of commissioners argue that a state of emergency would empower the Trump administration to take the bold steps needed to combat the crisis of overdoses, as well as force Congress to take the matter seriously.

"It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: If this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will", the report reads.

A White House committee tasked with investigating the nation's opioid epidemic said it should be deemed a national emergency.

The recommendations are included in an interim report to the president and do not represent the commission's full body of work.

Acting White House drug czar Richard Baum said he was "encouraged" by the report.

Cooper also said it was important that the final report dealt with "law enforcement-assisted diversion" of addicts into treatment.

The report includes a proposal on more efficient ways to regulate the escalating issue, including providing federal agencies with more advanced sensory equipment in order to detect the deadly synthetic opioid, Fentanyl.

The report reserves some of its toughest language for medical doctors who are prescribing pharmaceutical painkillers at record levels, pointing out that four out of every five new heroin users start their habit on prescription pills.

And since 1999, the number of opioid overdoses in the USA has quadrupled.

Trump fired Murthy in April.

The commission is calling on President Trump to declare a national emergency first and foremost, either using his power under the Public Health Service Act or Stafford Act.

"I did take note that a number of the ideas require a strong Medicaid program", Sharfstein said.

Establish mandatory opioid prescriber education at medical and dental schools across the country to spread awareness about safe prescription practices.

Increase access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone by crafting model legislation for states that would allow prescribers to dispense the drug. The commission is also calling for a ramp up in detection efforts through the mail by the United States Postal Service.

Provide federal funding and technical support to improve interstate sharing of data collected by prescription drug monitoring programs to prevent the misuse of prescription painkillers and other drugs. The commission is calling for the nationwide adoption of PDMPs and mandatory data sharing by July 1, 2018. This could be done through the bipartisan Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act/Jessie's Law.

Increase enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which protects patients with substance abuse disorders or mental health issues from receiving inferior health benefits from their insurance provider in comparison to a patient suffering from a physical condition.