Trump declaring opioid crisis a 'public health emergency' a start


Mr. Trump signed an order that frees up government money and resources to increase access to anti-addiction drugs and substance abuse treatment. "We owe it to our children and our country to do everything in our power to address this national shame and this human tragedy". A move for supplementary funding is expected to be a part of an end-of-the-year budget deal, which the Trump administration will have to negotiate with leaders on Capitol Hill.

Trump said he would require prescribers who work for the federal government to "receive, finally, special training" for prescribing opioids.

The number of prescription opioids legally sold almost quadrupled from 1999 to 2010, despite no change in the amount of pain that Americans reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

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

Trump said his oldest brother, Fred Trump Jr., died of complications of an alcohol addiction.

The declaration does not come with specific funding, but officials say it will allow changes such as expended access to medical services in rural areas.

"While clearly overturning it may not be in the scope of what the executive branch can do, laying out a clear vision for how waivers could be used to improve the system on a state-by-state basis would be a significant and welcome improvement", Matt Salo, the executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, wrote in an email to STAT after Trump's address. A statement from Christie said the commission will give Trump "an even more comprehensive set of recommendations" to fight opioids in a report to be issued November 1.

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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. "It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction".

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican who attended Trump's speech, said he hopes the initiative will lead to "a better coordinated federal response to this crisis".

The president had said as early as August he would be declaring a "national emergency", which many interpreted as his commitment to authorize a presidential emergency under the Stafford Act or the National Emergencies Act.

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 only way it's going to get fixed is by all of us doing something about it", McCauley said. "That means President Trump must use this declaration to boost treatment, invest in the people and programs that fight this every day, and make treatment more affordable".

She also said Medicaid expansion and the drug treatment services provided under the Affordable Care Act that Trump has tried to repeal "have gone a long way to providing invaluable care to those in the grips of addiction".