Treatment centers respond to Trump's pledge to combat opioid abuse

10 August, 2017, 00:35 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • WASHINGTON DC- AUGUST 2  U.S. President Donald Trump makes an announcement on the introduction of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act in the Roosevelt Room at the White House

Trump, who frequently talked about the drug epidemic during the campaign, has been criticized for remaining largely quiet about the crisis as president.

Trump's wordier version of Nancy Reagan's failed "Just say no" program would target those who haven't fallen victim to opioid addiction. The president reflected, for example, on preventing addiction by stopping the problem before it starts.

Trump addressed reporters at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey on Tuesday ahead of his staff meeting on the issue. "So if we can keep them from going on and maybe by talking to youth and telling them, 'No good".

The former Maryland health secretary and Baltimore health commissioner is among those reacting to President Donald Trump's briefing Tuesday on the opioid epidemic in America. The commission told Trump that an emergency declaration would allow the administration to remove restrictions on where Medicaid patients can receive treatment and to negotiate lower prices on naloxone - a life-saving overdose antidote - for government units.

Health Secretary Tom Price told said the administration has the resources it needs to combat the epidemic without invoking the emergency powers. Yet, he said all options are on the table for Trump.

"As president of the United States, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people and to ensure their safety", Trump said.

Experts and a bipartisan commission recommended that the federal government declare the nation's opioid epidemic a public health emergency. But he stopped short of actually declaring a state of emergency: "We believe that the resources that we need to bring to bear on the opioid crisis at this point can be addressed without the declaration of the emergency".


Statistics show the percentage of people in the United States dying of drug overdoses has effectively quadrupled since 1999, and drug overdoses now rank as the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

"We can not arrest our way out of this problem", he said during the July 31 meeting of the commission. Question: What opioid, addiction, or public health policy expertise does Kushner have? Earlier at the press briefing, Price said "the president believes that we will treat it as an emergency and it is an emergency".

"I know that physicians and other providers have oftentimes sensed that there is an incentive to provide narcotic medication and we need to do all that we can to make certain that, yes, people are provided appropriate narcotic medication when necessary, but no more than necessary", Price said.

According to the Post, a White House spokesman described the briefing as "an update on the opioid crisis" and said the president was still reviewing a preliminary report from his hand-picked commission. Despite the recommendation of the presidential opioid commission, the president did not declare a national emergency. "We're not letting it go by", Trump said.

You can read the latest comments from Price and Conway here.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the president understands that a strategy will require effort on multiple fronts. He might also be able to direct more public health personnel toward states overwhelmed by the epidemic. The fatal overdose rate in 2016 reached a record 19.9 deaths per 100,000 population between July and September, compared to 16.7 per 100,000 over the same period in 2015, according to federal estimates released Tuesday.

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