Speaking at a press briefing at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, HHS Secretary Tom Price said Trump is treating the opioid epidemic "as an emergency", but without an official emergency declaration, which could provide additional government resources. Although he established the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leading it, he has yet to follow the commission's recommendation that he declare the crisis a national emergency, The Washington Post notes.
The US health secretary, Tom Price, who has in the past questioned the value of science-based opioid treatment, said the federal government is "working together on a comprehensive strategy", which would be presented to the president in the "near future".
Asked about the renewed emphasis on law and order in dealing with the crisis, including from President Trump himself, Christ says she does see an important role for law enforcement in addressing the illegal supply of drugs.
Statistics show the percentage of people in the United States dying of drug overdoses has effectively quadrupled since 1999, and drug overdoses now rank as the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. "Declare a national emergency".
Price and the president's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, didn't mention Christie's commission during a news conference on the opioid crisis.
In May, Price visited Charleston to talk about the opioid epidemic with policymakers from both the state and federal levels along with representatives from several organizations.
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Trump did not address any of the recommendations.
Trump cast the issue as largely a law enforcement problem, noting that federal drug prosecutions have declined over the last five years. Everybody is threatened. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and opioid overdose deaths have almost quadrupled since 1999. "Really bad for you in every way.' But if they don't start, it will never be a problem".
City officials and advocates had praised the commission's report for its emphasis on prevention and treatment - which dovetails with the recommendations produced by the city's own opioid task force. "We're going to be bringing them up and bringing them up rapidly". Instead, the commission was entirely silent on cannabis as a method of combatting opioid deaths, ignoring roughly 7,800 public comments that referenced the plant.
"You hear the word "healing" thrown around or discussed, and I don't know if it is more healing as it is acceptance", Nowak said. "The United States has just as much of a drug addiction problem today as it did way back in the late 1960s when President Richard Nixon first declared the war on drugs". He feels the opioid crisis is serious enough to justify an emergency declaration from the Trump administration.
There were 36,450 fatal overdoses nationwide in 2008 and 47,055 in 2014, but half of the deaths reported unspecified drugs and in one-fifth to one-quarter, it was the only drug-related designation included.