Opioids crisis: Trump indicates he could soon declare state of emergency

Frederick Owens
August 12, 2017

President Trump announced Thursday he would declare a national emergency to address the heroin and opioid epidemic, a decision that drew praise from local officials. Six states have declared the opioid crisis as a statewide emergency.

"We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis", Trump said. "We're going to make it a national emergency".

"And I have to say this in all fairness, this is a worldwide problem", Mr. Trump said Thursday.

Trump has long insisted that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, even if the ounce of prevention takes the form of an enormous, expensive wall along the border between Mexico and the United States. Theoretically, however, Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, said a presidential emergency declaration could empower DEA to require prescriber education.

This is a developing story.

It was not immediately clear what had changed since Tuesday, when Price said the president had no immediate plans for an emergency declaration.

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When Donald Trump first arrived in Bedminster, New Jersey, many photos showed him with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner and their children, but there was no sign of Melania or Barron Trump.

National estimates found almost 33,000 people died in 2015 due to opioid overdose, but several reports have found even those numbers could be severely underreported, meaning the total number of overdoses could be much higher.

"The president has been engaged on the drug issue from Day One", said Baum, who noted he has been part of four administrations.

Groups advocating for a public health-centered approach to the epidemic are anxious about what powers an emergency declaration would grant an administration with a fondness for "tough on crime" law enforcement tactics.

Telemedicine prescribing of anti-addiction medicines is especially important as a means of responding to the opioid epidemic as there are more patients in need of treatment than there are providers available in-person to treat. Telemedicine could make a big difference in getting patients access to treatment faster, saving lives.
"We need better research ... and we need research for better treatment for non-cancerous chronic pain".

April Caraway, executive director of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, noted county officials previously called on OH officials to declare a state emergency, which Gov. John Kasich has declined to do. Before that, the last emergency declaration, unrelated to a natural disaster, was during the 2009-10 flu season, when there was widespread concern over a potential pandemic. "In the last year of the previous administration, they did some good things, but the previous six or seven years, there was not much discussion of this issue".

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