Opioid Crisis National Emergency Declared by President
Posted On August 11, 2017
National Emergency Declaration Allows Funds For Expanding Treatment
| Aug 10, 2017 | Thursday evening, President Trump officially declared a State of Emergency for treating opioid addiction. Declaring a public health emergency makes the opioid epidemic the government’s top priority, potentially infusing much-needed cash into hard-hit areas and bolstering addiction treatment resources.
In a statement released late Thursday, the White House said, “building upon the recommendations in the interim report from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, President Donald J. Trump has instructed his Administration to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic.”
Experts said that the national emergency declaration allows the executive branch to direct funds towards expanding addiction treatment facilities and supplying police officers with the anti-overdose remedy naloxone. The emergency designation paves the way for states and federal agencies to receive more resources and power to prevent and treat opioid overdose and opioid addiction.
It would also allow the administration to waive some federal rules, including one that restricts where Medicaid recipients can get addiction treatment.
Everybody Agrees This is a Crisis
And while the declaration could put more pressure on Congress to provide additional funding, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law professor Juliet Sorensen told NBC News earlier this week it would be a rare move for Trump that both Republicans and Democrats could agree on.
“Everybody agrees this is a crisis,” she said.
Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis Report
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who chairs the presidential opioid commission, thanked Trump “for accepting this first recommendation of our July 31 interim report.”
The study urged President Donald Trump to “declare a national emergency” and noted that “America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
Key Recommendations in the Opioid Commission Report:
Rapidly increase treatment capacity for those who need substance abuse help;
Establish and fund better access to medication-assisted treatment programs;
Make sure that health care providers are aware of the potential for misuse and abuse of prescription opioids by enhancing prevention efforts at medical and dental schools.
It was not immediately clear what had changed since Tuesday, when Health and Human Services (HHS)Secretary Tom Price said the president had no immediate plans for an emergency declaration. In a statement issued Thursday night, Price thanked the President for his leadership in making the move and said it, “demonstrates our sense of urgency to fight the scourge of addiction that is affecting all corners of this country.”
Opioid Emergency Implementation Questions
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 currently addicted and widely available naloxone to prevent overdose deaths?” Naloxone is the opioid antidote used by first responders to save lives.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who has fought for better access to treatment, said he was pleased with the president’s decision. “We must continue to fully fund important programs on addiction prevention, treatment and recovery.”
On Twitter, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who serves on the bipartisan opioid commission, said the announcement would “empower Congress and the Administration to take bold steps to fund desperately-needed treatment and prevention efforts.”
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