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HHS Secretary: National Health Emergency Declaration Not Necessary to Treat Opioid Epidemic

HHS Secretary: National Health Emergency Declaration Not Necessary to Treat Opioid Epidemic

President Donald Trump on Tuesday promised to increase law enforcement and strengthen border security to "beat this terrible situation" of drug abuse across the country, but he did not declare a national public health emergency as Gov. Chris Christie suggested and he made no mention of the governor's work on a commission the president created to address rampant heroin and opioid use.

President Donald Trump pledged to fight and "win" the opioid crisis on Tuesday, calling it a "deadly epidemic" but avoiding calling an official national emergency declaration to combat a scourge that is killing hundreds of Americans each month.

The rate of drug overdose deaths quadrupled between 1999 and 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fueled largely by widely available prescription painkillers marketed as having a low risk for addiction. Chris Christie, the panel urged him to "declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act". "Meanwhile, the overall drug prosecutions have gone down in recent years", Trump said of opioid abuse during a briefing on the topic.

"It's a problem the likes of which we have never seen".

Christie was not in New Jersey while Trump and his aides discussed the opioid crisis, the governor's pet issue.

"There's a recommendation on one hand and then it's a rebuffing of that recommendation and we would encourage the President and those in Congress to be encouraging the President that we need to have a very aggressive effort", Mayor Steve Williams said.

"We're also working with law enforcement officers to protect innocent citizens from drug dealers that poison our communities". West Virginia, where Trump held a rally on August 3, had the highest rate of deaths in 2015.

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Such programs "teach students the social skills they need to refuse drugs and give them opportunities to practice these skills with other students - for example, by asking students to play roles on both sides of a conversation about drugs, while instructors coach them about what to say and do", Scientific American explained.

After a campaign full of promises to solve the opioid crisis, denying his own commission's top suggestion is Trump's most obvious middle finger to those who believed he would attack the problem.

"We're going to have a tremendous team of experts and people that want to beat this frightful situation that has happened in our country - and we will".

He said a lot less about the problem - and offered fewer specifics - than many had anticipated. It wants new training on opioid prescribing in medical and dental schools, and greater access to and training on the use of naloxone in rapidly reversing opioid overdoses.

The federal government's report found that overdose fatalities climbed to a record 19.9 per 100,000 people in the third quarter of 2016.

After meeting with Trump, though, Price told reporters that the Trump administration believes they can fight the opioid epidemic without declaring a national emergency, a comment that refutes the commission's findings. In a hurricane we don't allow stores to gouge consumers for gas or water and the same should be true for life-saving drugs in this opioid emergency.


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