Conquering the National Opioid Crisis

On March 29, President Donald Trump issued an executive order establishing the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and vowed to lead an aggressive coordinated federal campaign against it.

The Trump Administration will declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, according to multiple outlets.

While stakeholders said they welcome anything to alleviate a crisis that now kills more people than guns or auto crashes, some criticized Trump for not dedicating new money to the problem.

The president debated invoking a disaster emergency under the Stafford Act, which would have made FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund available for governors who declared the opioid crisis a disaster situation.

He said the "crisis of drug use, addiction and overdose deaths, in many years" requires "all of our effort and will require us to confront the crisis in all of its very real complexity".

Trump opted to declare the crisis a public health emergency instead of a national emergency, which was an option his opioid commission recommended.

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The President urged Congress to add money to a public health emergency fund that hasn't replenished for years and again promised to build a wall along the Mexican border.

Officials said a national state of emergency would not have been the best approach for a long-term crisis and would not have provided authorities with resources the government does not already have. But it is also fair to say that unless the next step includes allocating billions of dollars for comprehensive outreach and treatment programs for the millions of mostly poor people hit hardest by the opioid crisis, Trump will have failed to live up to his promises - and thousands of Americans will continue to die every month as a result. Two other Granite State leaders, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and Democratic Sen.

"I have spoken to the president in depth about this epidemic and the devastating impact it is having on our communities in OH and around the country, and I know he is committed to addressing it in a comprehensive way", said a statement from Portman, who urged Congress to provide more resources to fight the epidemic.

The Public Health Emergency Fund at HHS now stands at $57,000, according to an agency spokesperson, and officials said the president's declaration won't yet include a request for Congress to replenish the fund.

The Trump administration plans to announce a new policy to overcome a "restrictive 1970s-era rule" that prevents states from providing care at certain treatment facilities with more than 16 beds for those suffering from drug addiction.

"We want them to get help that they need", said President Trump.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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