President Trump's Opioid Declaration Leaves Ohio Advocates Underwhelmed

Trump will declare a public health emergency to combat the opioid crisis. Here's what that will do.

Trump Will Finally — Finally — Declare A Public Health Emergency Over The Opioid Crisis

So it's fair to say the Trump plan is an important but preliminary step.

Trump's declaration, however, does not make additional federal funding available to address the opioid crisis.

Leana Wen, health commissioner in Baltimore, which has been battling a stubborn opioid epidemic for years, said she is happy that Trump's announcement "is drawing attention" to the drug crisis. On Thursday, the senator applauded the president's declaration, but said he hopes it's just the first step.

"This was an idea that I had, where if we can teach young people not to take drugs", Trump said, "it's really, really easy not to take them".

King is among several senators sponsoring a bill called the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act, which would allocate an additional $45 billion for prevention and treatment of opioid addiction over the next 10 years. But the declaration disappointed state officials and public health experts who say a lot more money is needed to respond to a deadly epidemic that is outpacing efforts to contain it. Policies, they said, won't accomplish much without substantial investments behind them. "This epidemic is a national health emergency". White House officials said the public health route was more appropriate because the other option was designed for natural disasters like hurricanes.

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Towards the end of his speech, Trump acknowledged Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan, whose program "Safe Station" had assisted over 350 Granite Staters suffering from addiction begin the recovery process.

Meanwhile, Trump's opioid commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is set to release its final recommendations on November 1.

The US uses more opioid pills per person than any other country in the world.

"America is hemorrhaging lives by the day because of the opioid epidemic, but President Trump offered the country a Band-Aid when we need a tourniquet", said Sen.

"Today's declaration prioritizes the urgency of this epidemic for the federal government and will ultimately help ME and our local communities more effectively fight this crisis", he said.

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"I have spoken to the president in depth about this epidemic and the devastating impact it is having on our communities in OH and around the country, and I know he is committed to addressing it in a comprehensive way", said a statement from Portman, who urged Congress to provide more resources to fight the epidemic.

But the order doesn't mean immediate federal funding.

With Trump's declaration, the federal government will waive some regulations, give states more flexibility in how they use federal funds and expand the use of telemedicine treatment, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on Thursday morning.

"Officials said the declaration would help fight abuse of prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl by expanding access to treatment, and curb delays in staffing the Department of Health and Human Services to help states grapple with the crisis".

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