Should Trump declare the opioid crisis a national emergency?

drugs

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NOLA.com reports that President Donald Trump created a commission in March to study effective ways to combat and treat drug addiction amidst the opioid crisis. The commission’s first report urged the president to immediately declare the crisis a state of emergency, which would expand Medicaid coverage for addiction treatment and pressure Congress to provide more funding. But Trump is not declaring a national emergency, saying we must “prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place.” What do you think?

The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis’s first recommendation was for the president to declare a state of emergency, warning “the opioid epidemic we are facing is unparalleled” (NOLA.com).

With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks. The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.

The Washington Post and others noted Trump was not taking the advice of a commission that he himself created to study the crisis.

Even with the opioid crisis intensifying and more than 142 Americans dying of drug overdoses each day, President Trump is not yet ready to declare a national emergency, as was recommended last week by a commission he organized.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price said that the administration can deal with the crisis without declaring a state of emergency.

Price later told reporters that declaring a national emergency is a step usually reserved for “a time-limited problem,” like the Zika outbreak or problems caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. “The president certainly believes that it is, that we will treat it as an emergency — and it is an emergency,” Price said during a news briefing held about eight miles from Trump’s golf club, where he is on a 17-day working vacation.

Many hard-liners argue the problem is one for law enforcement, not the medical establishment. They say cracking down on immigration and drug crimes is the solution to the crisis, not more federal spending (NOLA.com).