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Conquering the National Opioid Crisis

29 October, 2017, 01:51 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Conquering the National Opioid Crisis

He declared the opioid crisis to be a public health emergency - not a national emergency.

In an address at the White House, Trump said the growing epidemic spares "no part" of the country, promising his administration will spend "lots of money" to find non-addictive painkiller, Xinhua news agency reported. "We're going to draw it up and we're going to make it a national emergency".

The opioid epidemic killed 64,000 Americans in 2016, prompting Trump to call it the "worst drug crisis in our nation's history".

Trump's declaration will also expand access to telemedicine for people in remote areas and shift resources in HIV/AIDs programs to allow people in those programs to receive substance abuse disorder treatments.

Congressional Republicans as well as law enforcement and physicians' groups said the president's announcement was a crucial first step in building awareness about the opioid crisis and confronting its causes and devastating effects.

Although LePage applauded the president's declaration, ME has not issued its own declaration of an emergency, as six other states have done, including Maryland this year.

"This was an idea that I had, where if we can teach young people not to take drugs", Mr. Trump said, "it's really, really easy not to take them".

The national public health emergency declaration is effective immediately and directs Eric Hargan, the acting secretary of Health and Human Services, to waive restrictions and delays for distributing federal grant money. On Thursday, the senator applauded the president's declaration, but said he hopes it's just the first step.




Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Patrick O'Neal, M.D. says, "We do not know specifically how this declaration will impact Georgia". "I hope Congress will follow the President's "call to action" and respond in kind by working through the barriers that prevent the fast and efficient flow of funds to communities that need the most help".

But Democrats criticized Trump for what they characterized as a tepid response to an urgent calamity, arguing that his failure to request funding for the effort revealed a lack of seriousness about addressing the issue.

He adds, "However, the additional focus it brings to the opioid epidemic may lead to ways to reduce the number of individuals and families affected by or dying from opioid overdoses every day in Georgia".

Critics believe the President should have treated it as a national emergency, which would have treated opioid abuse more in the vein of a natural disaster, enlisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). And the numbers have been climbing steadily for years: More than 4,000 were in state-funded treatment for opioid abuse in 2013 - up from 399 in 2000.

"We fully recognize the challenge facing Ohio, and we welcome any additional resources provided by the federal government to better arm those on the frontlines combating addiction in our communities", said Jon Keeling, a spokesman for Ohio Gov John Kasich. The commission's final report will feature recommendations to be delivered to the president next week.

Some were disappointed he didn't use the Stafford Act mechanism to fight the problem because it would have made more money available.

Administration officials argued that a national emergency declaration was not necessary or helpful in the case of the opioid crisis, and that the powers associated with a public health emergency were better suited to address the issue.

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