In a move to counter the deepening opioid crisis in the United States, President Donald Trump said Thursday, that he was seriously considering the option of declaring a national emergency in that regard.
“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 told reporters at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey. “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.”
The urgent recommendation came last month from a national commission that POTUS appointed. The commission being led by Trump’s one-time presidential opponent, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, said that an emergency declaration in this regard would ensure additional resources and attention to tackle the menace of opioid dependency and overdose, which has taken epidemic proportions in the last few years.
Gov. Christie thanked the president for heeding the panel’s advice in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
“I am completely confident that the president will address this problem aggressively and do all he can to alleviate the suffering and loss of scores of families in every corner of our country,” said the NJ Governor.
The Thursday announcement is in contradiction to what Trump’s top health official Tom Price told reporters on Tuesday. He was of the opinion that the crisis “can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency, although all things are on the table for the president.”
“The president certainly believes we should treat it as an emergency, and it is an emergency,” Price later told reporters, backpedaling from his earlier statement after meeting with Trump. “Look, when you have the capacity of Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium dying every single year in this nation, that’s a crisis that had to be given incredible attention, and the president is giving it that attention.”
“There’s no doubt that this shines a brighter light on the epidemic. It remains to be seen how much this will fundamentally change its course,” said Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness. “No one thinks the recovery from this is going to be fast, emergency or not.”
James Hodge Jr., a law professor at Arizona State University who specializes in public health law and emergency preparedness said that “declaring it a national emergency instantly identifies this crisis as the most important public health emergency we’ve had since this nomenclature came about,” adding that it was “that serious of a crisis.”
“I applaud President Trump for his leadership in taking this drastic and necessary measure to confront an opioid crisis that is devastating communities around the country and ripping families apart,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions was all praise for Donald Trump in a Thursday statement.
“The death toll of this horrific epidemic reached 60,000 people in 2016, but as horrible as it is to think of that number, it is worse when we look past the staggering statistic and see our children, our moms and dads, sisters and brothers, friends and co-workers,” he added.
While a national emergency declaration may do away with some bureaucratic hurdles and bend some federal regulations governing how states and districts respond to the opioid epidemic, it is not an issue that is going to be easily remedied in the foreseeable future.
Having said that, declaring a national emergency to tackle the opioid fixation among sufferers is, undeniably, a step in the right direction – like it or not, Trump and his team have got this one right, it appears.
“Are doctors responsible for opioid dependency by over-prescribing it?”
We have addressed the above topic in one of our earlier articles from six months ago.
Please read here;