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News Worms


White House rejects appeal to call national emergency over opioid epidemic

White House rejects appeal to call national emergency over opioid epidemic

Experts have said that declaring a national emergency could help free up federal funding for states dealing with an overdose crisis that, the commission said, kills 142 Americans a day, though some advocates anxious the Trump administration would have used the declaration to return to policies similar to the war on drugs. Price said that there will be a comprehensive strategy presented to President Trump soon and that all cabinet departments are working on the problem.

While experts say stemming the flow of drugs is part of any solution, many, including top administration officials, have said that law enforcement alone can not end an addiction crisis.

Statistics show the percentage of people in the United States dying of drug overdoses has effectively quadrupled since 1999, and drug overdoses now rank as the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

Presidents have declared national emergencies dozens of times, but mostly for threats contained within a specific time and place.

"He needs to announce a substantial commitment of resources to address the opioid crisis across the country", Kuster said.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump attended a meeting earlier in the day at Trump's golf course in Bedminister, New Jersey, in which Price discussed the administration's efforts to combat the epidemic.

"The lack of funding for essential treatment and recovery services is a persistent barrier to effectively addressing the opioid crisis", reads the letter, which was signed by nine other Democrats.

Trump addressed the severity of the issue Tuesday, saying "nobody is safe" and encouraging a focus on preventative measures.

Trump has previously targeted former President Barack Obama's administration for being overly-lenient on the law enforcement side of the federal government's campaign against drugs, expressing a desire to cut off the supply. West Virginia, where Trump held a rally on August 3, had the highest rate of deaths in 2015. If they don't start, they won't have a problem.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that there were almost 35,000 deaths from opioid overdose in 2015, up from over 11,000 in 2002.

The commission's report also recommended government partnerships to develop non-opioid pain relievers, and called for mandating medical education in opioid prescribing.

"We can not arrest our way out of this problem", he said during the July 31 meeting of the commission. "Having a report like this, which has expert consensus behind it, is going to help us push that forward".

Not only does the "Just Say No" approach not work, it ignores the fact that that opioid epidemic is driven, in part, by prescriptions written up by doctors to patients who then become addicted to the painkillers. Yet, he said all options are on the table for Trump.

"There's never been a federal emergency declaration for something like opioids - they're for things that are more traditionally thought of as public health emergencies, like hurricanes or infectious disease outbreaks like H1N1, so there's not a lot of precedent for something that's not a natural disaster and not a communicable disease", said Lainie Rutkow, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"We've gotten a really good response from the White House", said Christie, whom Trump appointed to lead the panel.

Consider this: The Public Health Emergency Fund, created by Congress in 1983, can get an infusion of only $45 million every year, leaving it only a meager resource when it comes to dealing with big public health problems.

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