Trump Declares a National Health Emergency to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Brendan Smialowski  AFP  Getty Images

Brendan Smialowski AFP Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday, stopping short of a national emergency declaration he promised months ago that would have freed up more federal money.

Regarding funding to combat the public health emergency, she said, "We need more money, but we need a framework".

The government will spend money from the Public Health Emergency Fund, although it has only $57,000 in it. No other funding was immediately made available by the declaration. 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.

On Wednesday, the president told Fox Business Network he would be declaring the crisis a national emergency, which would have opened up additional federal funds. And a public health emergency under the Stafford Act would also unlock the Disaster Relief Fund.

"Declaring a public health crisis is a good first step". That will get you about 12 doses of the auto-injector Evzio, which delivers the overdose-reversing drug naloxone for around $4,500 per pop. (This, of course, reduces available funding for HIV treatment, unless the coffers are replenished). "A large part of recovery and becoming a contributing member of society is finding meaningful employment and President Trump's expansion of the Dislocated Workers Grants will help people who are struggling to find work due to their disorder, which works with the goals of my Clean Start Act".

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In a statement issued by the White House, he said "As Americans, we can not allow this to continue, it is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction".

Massachusetts Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey said Trump's action was "woefully inadequate to address the challenges we face". Those did introduce America to how a brain on drugs is similar to a fried egg, but did next to nothing to combat drug use.

The WVU official said, "It is still our opportunity as a state, as a community, to start to care for these people".

In July, members of a White House commission on the drug crisis had recommended that Trump declare a national emergency.

Indeed, just yesterday, Sen. Senate Republicans had added that amount to their Obamacare repeal bill, which failed.

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Trump said during his remarks that he is awaiting a final report from the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and the administration will act quickly to evaluate and implement its recommendations.

In short, it turns that December decision into a giant cliff, imperiling virtually everything in the deal because of the number of moving parts. Rather, the declaration is partly meant to have a symbolic impact.

"What we need is for the president to seek an appropriation from Congress, I believe in the billions, so that we can rapidly expand access for effective outpatient opioid addiction treatments", Kolodny said in an interview. There's also deregulation in the order, as it enables HHS to "overcome bureaucratic delays and inefficiencies" and hire more temporary specialists to deal with the crisis.

In addition, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb's endorsement before Congress of medication-assisted treatment puts a powerful proponent on the side of a critical solution.

The declaration has significant meaning for New Hampshire, which has been adversely affected by the opioid crisis for over a decade. Families need expanded access to substance use treatment.

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