President Trump calls opioid crisis 'national emergency'

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President Donald Trump "officially' declared the opioid crisis a national emergency on Thursday".

Trump's comments come just two days after Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price suggested that declaring a national emergency was unnecessary.

Bill Piper, senior director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told CNN that Trump would find more success "focusing on the treatment side of things", noting that stricter policing of drug abuse "has never worked".

The White House has not released an official declaration, so it's unclear what it will look like or what federal rules may be relaxed as a result. "But this is going to give us the help that we need", Wells said. "There's never been anything like what's happened to this country over the last four or five years", he said, reiterating that "this is a national emergency".

On Tuesday, Trump stressed the importance of prevention and law enforcement in another briefing on the opioid crisis, but stopped short of declaring the state of national emergency that his own opioid commission has recommended. "I hope that the administration works quickly and prudently to finally take the steps necessary to call this opioid epidemic what it is - a national emergency - and follow-up with meaningful action and investment".

"It means every state health department, local government and the federal government would treat this as the top priority", Dr. Guohua Li, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University told CNN.

The rule was cited as one of the primary reasons for the April closure of Post House, a 48-bed drug treatment center in Pemberton Township.

National emergencies tend to be declared after natural disasters or to stop the spread of infectious diseases.

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NPR contacted the White House for more details about who was drawing the papers and how an emergency declaration would be implemented.

The commission's report to the president said a declaration "would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life".

Ohio Democrats joined Republicans in praising Trump's announcement. Medicaid, which was expanded under the act, pays for treatment for low-income Americans.

Family members hold pictures of their loved ones who were died of opioid overdoses.

Consequently, we request that you immediately call on Congress to provide emergency appropriations to combat the opioid epidemic and to cease their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But it has been cited by lawmakers and advocates as a major obstacle for people suffering from substance abuse disorders to receive inpatient treatment. This is the gold standard of opioid addiction treatment, with research showing that it can reduce the all-cause mortality rate among addiction patients by half or more.

"It's ironic", Smith said.

The "national emergency" status also brings up some political questions.

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