President Declares Opioid Crisis a National Emergency

President Trump has declared the opioid crisis a national emergency. This action was the primary recommendation of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

The Washington Post reports:

“It’s a national 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, speaking to reporters outside a national security briefing at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is on a working vacation. “It is a serious problem, the likes of which we’ve never had. You know, when I was growing up, they had the LSD, and they had certain generations of drugs. There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years.”

Trump’s announcement is a change of course from earlier this week when the president stopped short of issuing such a declaration during a press conference about the commission’s report. The designation opens the opportunity for additional funding that could be used for treatment and prevention efforts. It also provides federal agencies with flexibility to allow waivers of certain rules and regulations that could help local government adapt programs to meet their needs.

The national emergency announcement is welcome news to many. Especially as NBC News notes a new report that has concluded that overdose deaths have been under-reported:

Nearly 35,000 people across America died of heroin or opioid overdoses in 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But a new University of Virginia study released on Monday concluded the mortality rates were 24 percent higher for opioids and 22 percent higher for heroin than had been previously reported.

For more information:

Trump declares opioid crisis is a national emergency, pledges more money and attention (The Washington Post)

Trump Declares Opioid Crisis National Emergency (NBC News)

Federal Commission Releases Opioid Report, President Declines Declaring National Emergency (Conduit Street)