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Trump rejects opioid emergency declaration but vows to 'win' against epidemic

10 August 2017, 12:36 | Myrtle Vega

Elsa 2017 Getty Images

Trump relatively quiet on opioid crisis despite campaign vows

The commission's report found 142 Americans die daily from overdoses. Price, briefing reporters at a hotel about 15 minutes away from Trump's golf course, said numerous report's recommendations for increased funding and attention can be accomplished without such a declaration, which is normally reserved for a natural disaster such as a hurricane or for a more focused public health problem such as an infectious disease outbreak.

President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday that the USA would "win" the battle against the heroin and opioid plague, but he stopped short of declaring a national emergency as his handpicked commission had recommended.

"The time has come to declare it a national emergency", said Lou Gargiulo, a Hampton Falls man who served as Trump's Rockingham County campaign co-chairman.

Price said Tuesday the administration would make sure resources are available for prevention, treatment, and recovery, while not losing sight of the crisis at hand.

The opioid abuse crisis, on the other hand, has slowly emerged over decades and affects regions around virtually the entire country.

Trump has pushed for deep cuts in federal aid to states for their Medicaid programs even as Medicaid has emerged as one of the most important tools in combating the crisis.

While stopping short of calling the "deadly epidemic" a national emergency, the President has promised to "protect innocent citizens from drug dealers that poison our communities".

Health officials awaiting news from President Trump's briefing on opioids Tuesday didn't, in the end, get much about what the White House plans to do about the growing crisis.

"Most national emergencies that have been declared in the area of public health emergency have been focused on a specific area, a time-limited problem - either an infectious disease or a specific threat to public health", Price said.

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Last week, Christie said he hadn't had the chance to talk directly to Trump about his commission's report, saying the president was "a little busy" with the White House turmoil of a new chief of staff and fired communications director.

Instead, Trump said he wanted to focus on keeping people from becoming addicted in the first place.

Trump tweeted an announcement of the speech just after he retweeted a Fox & Friends report on the crisis.

"If they don't start, they won't have a problem", he said, according to The Washington Post.

"Morgs are running out of space, they have no room for the bodies, for the overdoses anymore", Orta said.

A recent report in August's American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that heroin and opioid deaths in the United States have been under-reported. For every door that we close, they open a new door to death'.

Politicians, law enforcement and health care officials across the country are struggling to confront the surging crisis of addiction and death associated with opioids - painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin as well as synthetic drugs imported from China like fentanyl. The Health Department has said it's in part because a new law requires health-care providers to check a patient's prescription history, to prevent "doctor shopping" for drugs.

"Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act", the five-member panel wrote to the president, adding that the option is "direct and completely within your control".

He said a lot less about the problem - and offered fewer specifics - than many had anticipated.



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