Trump pledges to 'win' fight against opioid crisis

As'142 Americans dying every day, Opioid Commission seeks national emergency declaration

Prescription Opioid Overdose Data | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

President Donald Trump delivers remarks to reporters as he meets with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and flanked by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to discuss opioid addiction during a briefing at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster, N.J., on Monday.

"With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks", the report said.

The Trump administration's top health official backed away from a presidential commission's proposal to declare a national public health emergency to address the opioid crisis.

Price said after the briefing that the administration can deploy the necessary resources and attention without declaring a national emergency, though he stressed "all things are on the table for the president".

Channeling the "Just Say No" spirit of Nancy Reagan, Trump suggested that telling kids to stop it already would end the drug epidemic that's now consuming the country. The opioid crisis really is being looked at as an emergency because of the magnitude of the numbers of lives lost, he said.

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There's widespread consensus that opioid abuse, which most often begins with addiction to prescription painkillers and can lead to heroin use, is a deep-rooted problem, likely requiring many years and many layers of response to stem the tide.

Though concern over the addiction crisis resonates strongly with Trump's core supporters, it could be a rare opportunity for bipartisan cooperation, given its widespread impact.

"Most national emergencies that have been declared in the area of public health emergency have been focused on a specific area, a time-limited problem - either an infectious disease or a specific threat to public health", Price said.

Instead, Trump said he wanted to focus on keeping people from becoming addicted in the first place.

"Until Trump takes real action and abandons his attempts to reduce health care access to these communities, anything he does is nothing but more empty rhetoric and another broken promise", the statement concludes.

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"These drug companies created this problem, and what's infuriating is that they're doing precious little to be of assistance", he said.

"During my campaign, I promised to fight this battle because as president of the United States my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people and to ensure their safety, especially in some parts of our country, it is terrible", Trump told reporters before the event was closed to the press. If they do start, it's awfully tough to get off.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in more than 33,000 U.S. deaths in 2015, the latest year for which data is available, and estimates show the death rate has continued rising. Trump said that the solution is stepping up enforcement. "We're not letting it go by..."

"Much of it is being done without the declaration of a national emergency", Price said in a press briefing in New Jersey, where the president is vacationing.

An emergency declaration under the Stafford Act - the law that governs natural disaster declarations and some public health emergencies - could let states in some of the hardest-hit areas apply for millions of dollars in federal aid through the Disaster Relief Fund.

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