'We have no alternative' to defeating opioid crisis

During brief remarks to reporters from his private golf club in New Jersey, Trump said he thinks the way to prevent opioid abuse is simply to tell kids that drugs are bad.

Last Monday, Trump's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the opioid crisis recommended in its interim report that he declare a national emergency to allow the crisis to be addressed better than it is now.

While experts say stemming the flow of drugs is part of any solution, many, including top administration officials, have said that law enforcement alone can not end an addiction crisis.

Nationwide almost 35,000 people in America died of heroin or opioid overdoses in 2015 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Presidents have declared national emergencies dozens of times, but mostly for threats contained within a specific time and place.

Thomas Farley, the commissioner of the city's Department of Public Health and the co-chair of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's opioid task force, said the president's comments "show he doesn't understand the opioid crisis".

Christie was not in New Jersey while Trump and his aides discussed the opioid crisis, the governor's pet issue. Even after Trump's address yesterday, it remains unclear exactly how he plans to approach the problem. Although the declaration could provide additional federal resources, it could also be used to ramp up a punitive response, they said.

The meeting, held at the president's private golf course in Bedminster, NJ, came in the wake of a report issued that morning from the National Center for Health Statistics showing that United States drug overdose deaths continue to skyrocket.

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"I am pretty ticked off", said Canterbury, who said she now regrets her vote for Trump and likely won't vote for him in 2020.

The opioid commission last week, also asked Mr. Trump to declare a national health emergency.

"First, [an emergency declaration] lets states and localities that are designated disaster zones to access money in the federal Disaster Relief Fund, just like they could if they had a tornado or hurricane", said Humphreys. The mere legalization of medical marijuana is associated with fewer opioid prescriptions and decreases in both opioid-related hospitalizations and overdoses.

The findings, which are in line with plenty of other academic studies on the matter, are pretty shocking: 59,000 people died in 2016 by overdosing on opioids.

An emergency designation for the opioid crisis is broadly supported by public health experts, who argue more money is necessary to tackle an epidemic that killed more than 30,000 Americans in 2015.

Touted as a major policy briefing from Donald Trump and his team of senior health care advisers, Tuesday's "working vacation" event on America's raging opioid epidemic turned out to be a pointless photo op, where a disconnected Trump read incoherent talking points while his wife and son-in-law looked on.

"I'm convinced that the president is committed to this", said Christie during a conference call with the commission.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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