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BREAKING: Trump Declares “National Emergency”
Gage Skidmore / CCL
America is in the midst of a public health crisis the likes of which it has never experienced before, prompting the president to take extraordinary steps and declare a national emergency. With over 100 Americans dying every day as a result of opioid addiction, the federal government is now placing all of the assets at its disposal towards combating this deadly epidemic.
The declaration from President Donald Trump came after a White House commission tasked with coming up with answers to the opioid crisis recommended that the president formally declare an emergency.
By taking this step, the president’s cabinet is now empowered to deploy all of its resources towards halting a problem from which very few American families have been immune.
After hearing recommendations from the commission, Trump promised to formalize documents to treat the drug epidemic like a national emergency. He told reporters last Thursday:
The opioid crisis is an emergency. 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 U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse classifies opioids as both illegal drugs like heroin and controlled medications that are available through prescription, such as fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine and codeine. Many addicts first became addicted from doctor prescribed opiates before moving onto harder street drugs that may be used via intravenous injection.
In 2015, one-third of Americans reported being prescribed painkillers by doctors, contributing to the quadrupling of deaths from the addictive substances occurring over the last 20 years. The president agrees that the problem is only getting worse, saying:
There’s never been what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years.
Although the previous White House administration took similar action in declaring an emergency to confront the Zika Virus outbreak in Puerto Rico, public health emergencies are normally reserved for responding to natural disasters like hurricanes and tornados. Still, the great loss of life experienced as a result of drug overdoses from heroin and other opiate painkillers has prompted these unprecedented steps.
A report from the commission was very clear that executive action is necessary:
It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will. 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.
The formal declaration of a national emergency means that the federal government should be able to draw from the Public Health Emergency Fund, while states could request assistance under the federal Disaster Relief Fund.
Trump also seemed committed to stopping the flow of drugs from entering into American neighborhoods, indicating that he may make the public health crisis a law enforcement priority, as well.
With the equivalent death toll of a 9/11 occurring every three weeks in America, this problem will not wait to be solved. Calling the disaster and public health crisis a national emergency is just the first step in a long list of actions that must be taken to solve a problem that almost every American family can attest to experiencing.
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