Trump to declare opioid epidemic as a Public Health Emergency

Posted October 30, 2017

Trump would be instructing the acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan to further designate the opioid epidemic as a "public health crisis", stopping short of designating it as a "national emergency", as it was recommended in July by the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, a blue ribbon panel which is chaired by the Governor Chris Christie.

The decision to declare the epidemic a public health emergency was due to the nature of the crisis, New York Times reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis told The Daily podcast. The Intercept reports that fund holds only $57,000. Those impacted the most, like New Hampshire, are on the front lines of this crisis and assistance should be proportionate to the size of our problem and not based on our population. "Among White House officials there was a worry they were essentially signing themselves up for a completely open ended commitment of federal resources [if the opioid epidemic were to be declared a national emergency]", she said. "This epidemic is a national health emergency". Six states have declared opioid-related public health or disaster emergencies. That will get you about 12 doses of the auto-injector Evzio, which delivers the overdose-reversing drug naloxone for around $4,500 per pop.

The reach of the crisis has pressured Trump to act, but Thursday's move may still frustrate public health officials and others who had urged a quicker and more forceful response. (This, of course, reduces available funding for HIV treatment, unless the coffers are replenished).

Allow the Department of Labor to issue dislocated worker grants to help those who have been displaced from the workforce because of the opioid crisis (subject to available funding). "As Americans, we can not allow this to continue". "This can happen to any of us", she said.

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The WVU official said, "It is still our opportunity as a state, as a community, to start to care for these people".

Indeed, just yesterday, Sen.

Doug Coleman, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Arizona, said Trump's announcement will help raise much-needed awareness for the opioid epidemic.

The public health crisis declaration removes some red tape and allows some federal grants to be more easily directed toward opioid treatment.

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So Trump's declaration guarantees that opioid funding will become another major agenda item for the end-of-the-year omnibus bill, said at various times to include: appropriations to avoid a government shutdown, a raise in the debt ceiling, authorization to fund the cost-sharing reduction payments for insurers in the Affordable Care Act, a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, reauthorization of the now-expired Children's Health Insurance Program and enhanced funding for community health centers, a re-up for the National Flood Insurance Program which expires in December, and continued disaster relief funding for areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires. "The death toll from our opioid epidemic rises at an alarming rate, and without new resources to fight it, we are going to lose more and more lives". They said the White House would soon send Congress a request for money to combat opioids, with the goal of including it in a year-end spending package.

Other parts of the public health emergency declaration could make a small difference. And, yes, we will overcome addiction in America ... That deregulation could loosen restrictions that now block Medicaid from funding drug treatment in a facility with more than 16 beds.

The administration would have to work with Congress to help provide additional funding to address drug abuse, they added.

Trump's campaign promise to focus on the opioid crisis helped propel him to a crucial victory in New Hampshire's primary past year. Families need expanded access to substance use treatment.

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