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article imageTrump promises 'a very, very big statement' on opioid crisis

By Karen Graham     Oct 21, 2017 in Politics
President Trump went off-script this week, promising to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency next week. However, administration officials are now scrambling to come up with some kind of plan to implement Trump's promise.
On Monday, Trump said his administration would be presenting a disaster declaration for the nationwide opioid crisis, according to a report from Politico. The only problem with this is that his administration wasn't at all prepared for Trump's remarks.
“That is a very, very big statement,” he said Monday. “It's a very important step. ... We're going to be doing it in the next week.”
Trump had promised to declare a national emergency back in August, after his opioid commission, headed up by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made an urgent request this be done. However, the request was lost in White House in-fighting and concerns over the declaration's scope and cost.
"Everyone wants opioids to be a priority, but there's a lot of resistance to calling it an emergency," one senior administration official says, adding that "legal and budgetary" obstacles are what's holding things up. And then, from the administration on down to the state level, there is no agreement on how to implement the declaration.
Business Insider is reporting that officials at the Department of Health and Human Services, absent a department secretary after the resignation of Tom Price last month, were "blindsided" by the president's statement and are now desperately trying to come up with a plan.
In the meantime, overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Statistics now show 91 people dying every day from an opioid overdose.
Bottom line folks - “The reaction was universal,” said a senior health official specializing in drug policy. “Believe it when [we] see it.”
More about opioid crisis, offscript statements, Trump, national emergency, Administration
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