Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Trump declares opioid emergency

Donald Trump speaks on GOP Sgt. La David Johnson Niger ambush and current presidency Donald Trump speaks on GOP Sgt. La David Johnson Niger ambush and current presidency
Carol Daniels | 29 October, 2017, 02:42

President Donald Trump will on Thursday officially declare a national public health emergency over the USA epidemic of opioid drug overdoses, according to senior administration officials, addressing a scourge killing tens of thousands of people nationwide.

Shortly after, Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan issued a public health emergency declaration on the opioid crisis, creating additional avenues to address the epidemic.

Critics believe the President should have treated it as a national emergency, which would have treated opioid abuse more in the vein of a natural disaster, enlisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

King is among several senators sponsoring a bill called the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act, which would allocate an additional $45 billion for prevention and treatment of opioid addiction over the next 10 years.

The US government will be working with doctors and medical professionals to implement best practices for "safe opioid prescribing" and "requiring federally employed prescribers" to receive special training.

Reiterating a need for a border wall between the United States and Mexico, Trump said 90% of heroin comes from south of the border. So "public health emergency" and $57,000 is it for now. It means all affected federal agencies must take necessary emergency steps to reduce opioid overdose deaths. It also allows grants to help people struggling with opioid addiction, but without allocating money for that goal.

The opioid commission's chairman, New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, applauded Trump's actions, saying on Twitter that Trump is "doing what we asked of him".

President Donald Trump says we can't continue to allow the opioid crisis to continue.

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"Those approvals will come very, very fast", Trump said.

Under Thursday's declaration, treatment would be made more accessible for abusers of prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl, while ensuring fewer delays in staffing the Department of Health and Human Services to help states grapple with the crisis.

To end the epidemic, Mr Trump said there would need to be a mobilisation of government, local communities and private organisations.

Meanwhile, Trump's opioid commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is set to release its final recommendations on November 1.

Lori Criss, of the Ohio Council of Behavior Health & Family Service Providers, says the treatment model needs to change so addiction gets the same insurance coverage and resources as cancer and other diseases.

To combat the epidemic, the president said the government would produce "really tough, really big, really great advertising" aimed at persuading Americans not to start using opioids in the first place, seeming to hark back to the "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign led by Nancy Reagan in the 1980s.

Sen. Angus King of ME, an independent, has become a leading voice on the opioid crisis and prior to the president's announcement called for a comprehensive approach and more funding. "They're bad", he said.

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