The opioid crisis will officially be declared a “national emergency” in the US by President Donald Trump. He will reportedly be completing documents to formalize this decision in the near future.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency,” said Trump on Thursday. “And I am saying officially right now: It is an emergency, it’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”
The declaration will provide states with more funding and other resources to combat the problem. The White House has yet to release solid numbers on how much money will be put towards this cause.
Just days ago, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price commented that the administration was considering whether declaring a national emergency was truly necessary. His view was that the funding could still be provided without having to make that statement.
“We believe that at this point, the resources that we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crises can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency,” said Price, “although all things are on the table for the president.”
However, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis were a driving force behind the decision. The commission advices the president that declaring a national public health emergency would go a long way to addressing the opioid crisis in the US.
In 2015, over 17,500 individuals in the US have died as a result of a prescription opioid-related overdose. According to a CNN report, opioid-related deaths continue to rise, suggesting that current efforts to address the opioid epidemic are insufficient.