Trump Promises State Of Emergency On Opioid Crisis

Marie Harrington
August 12, 2017

"We're hearing the words, national emergency, follow it up with your commissions recommendations and I think we'll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel".

Days after his drug commission called on him to declare a national emergency, Trump made the announcement at his golf course in New Jersey.

Congress doesn't need an emergency declaration to appropriate money for more drug treatment and intervention. This could loosen restrictions on how and where money is spent - for example, when it goes for residential treatment programs and how law enforcement accesses tools like drugs to reverse heroin overdoses. "I think it's going to get worse before it gets better". "We hear about what's going on in Manatee County because we live there, but it's much larger than that". Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused (taken in a different way or in a larger quantity than prescribed, or taken without a doctor's prescription).

Opioid addict Ian Blackburn spoke to ITV News about spread of drug abuse in the US.

By declaring it a national emergency it removes some barriers and waives some federal rules such as one that restricts Medicaid recipients from receiving addiction treatment. At the street level, police, firefighters and paramedics now routinely carry naloxone (brand name Narcan), the anti-overdose drug that can yank an addict back from the brink of death. "The cry for leadership is here and here it comes", Beck said. "Anything that helps is good".

The report issued last week states: "The opioid epidemic we are facing is unparalleled".

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The willingness to declare a national emergency is a change from earlier in the week, when after briefing the president on the administration's response to the opioid crisis, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said declaring a public health emergency was usually reserved for "time-limited" problems such as the Zika outbreak.

Commissions, in ME and other states, cities like Bangor and nationally have come up with "wonderful ideas", Dr. Mark Publicker, an addiction specialist in Portland, told the BDN.

"We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan", Trump tweeted in 2013.

Tuesday afternoon, Trump met with health officials and members of his administration to receive an update on the crisis. It added that 27 million people reported in 2015 they now used illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs, but only 21 million receive any type of treatment. Thirty thousand lives cut short; 30,000 families devastated; 30,000 communities scarred, every year.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said "the question will be: Will that money be used to increase hospital bed availability, medically assisted therapy for the millions of people now addicted and widely available naloxone to prevent overdose deaths?".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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