Local health officials commend President's approach to opioid crisis

Tabitha Dunn
October 29, 2017

Brian Namey, a spokesman for the National Association of Counties, which represents 3,069 county and local governments, said Trump´s declaration on Thursday that the opioid crisis is a "public health emergency" rather than a national emergency lasts only 90 days and frees up no additional federal funds.

On Wednesday, the president told Fox Business Network he would be declaring the crisis a national emergency, which would have opened up additional federal funds.

The president debated invoking a disaster emergency under the Stafford Act, which would have made FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund available for governors who declared the opioid crisis a disaster situation.

"No part of our society, not young or old, rich or poor, urban or rural has been spared this plague of drug addiction", the President said. Those limits could also be adjusted under a national emergency declaration.

Trump's campaign promise to focus on the opioid crisis helped propel him to a crucial victory in New Hampshire's primary past year.

The money can also be re-directed to fighting addiction by cutting down delays which can result in people getting help faster by expanding access to medical services.

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on Thursday during an event to declare the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.

With Trump's declaration, the federal government will waive some regulations, give states more flexibility in how they use federal funds and expand the use of telemedicine treatment, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on Thursday morning.

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- The Department of Health and Human Services will speed up its hiring process to have people in place to help states in crisis.

"While I support the President in finally taken this action-something I urged him to do six months ago-if we are going to make a real impact on the opioid epidemic President Trump and congressional Republicans need to put their money where their mouth is", said Niles-area Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, a co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus.

"For too long we've allowed drugs to ravage Americans cities and towns", he said.

The opioid crisis is a subject Trump focused on throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and after taking office.

Trump said he would discuss stopping the flow of fentanyl, a drug 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Asia next month.

The president did not declare a more comprehensive national state of emergency as recommended by his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. They said any national resources and attention that could be devoted to the issue will help save lives.

In his remarks, Trump said the U.S. Postal Service and Department of Homeland Security were "strengthening the inspection of packages coming into our country to hold back the flood of cheap and deadly fentanyl, a synthetic opioid manufactured in China".

"Today's declaration prioritizes the urgency of this epidemic for the federal government and will ultimately help ME and our local communities more effectively fight this crisis", he said.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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