Commission to Trump: Declare National Emergency over Opioid Epidemic

Commission to Trump: Declare National Emergency over Opioid Epidemic
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President Trump’s opioid commission has urged him to declare a national state of emergency over America’s burgeoning opioid crisis. The recommendation comes from a preliminary draft of the commission’s report. [2]

By declaring an emergency, Trump’s cabinet would be able to take action, and Congress would be forced to fund potential solutions to the epidemic.

Drug overdoses likely killed more people in 2016 than the entire Vietnam War. The previous year, opioid overdoses claimed the lives of more people than car crashes, gun violence, and HIV/AIDs combined, when the AIDS epidemic was at its height in 1995.

The commission says in the report:

“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks. After September 11th, our President and our nation banded together to use every tool at our disposal to prevent any further American deaths.

Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life.”

Read: UN Says It Will Monitor the Fentanyl Market

The lawmakers made several other recommendations, including:

  • Grant waiver approvals for all 50 states to get rid of treatment barriers in the Medicaid program that exclude the federal Institutes for Mental Diseases.
  • Mandate education initiatives with the assistance of medical and dental schools, and by amending the Controlled Substances Act, to require that prescribers receive better training about the treatment of pain and addiction.
  • Provide federal support for state-based prescription drug monitoring programs. This will allow doctors to closely monitor a patient’s prescription drug history, to spot patients who might be doctor shopping for more opioids, or if a patient has a history of abusing drugs.
  • Provide more funding for research into non-opioid painkillers.
  • Boost efforts to block illegal fentanyl shipments.

The commission warns in the report that “If this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.” [2]

They go on:

“You, Mr. president, are the only person who can bring this type of intensity to the emergency and we believe you have the will to do so and to do so immediately. Our citizens are dying. We must act boldly to stop it.”

The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D), and Dr. Bertha Madras.


[1] Vox

[2] USA Today