Trump to Declare Public Health Emergency for Opioid Crisis

Trump Will Finally — Finally — Declare A Public Health Emergency Over The Opioid Crisis

President Donald Trump declared Thursday afternoon that the opioid crisis - which is killing more than 100 people each day - is a public health emergency.

So it's fair to say the Trump plan is an important but preliminary step. "People that work in the field have been waiting and waiting for it to be treated with the kind of urgency that's needed".

The US government will be working with doctors and medical professionals to implement best practices for "safe opioid prescribing" and "requiring federally employed prescribers" to receive special training.

The president's directive will allow federal agencies to hire more public health workers. That will be up to states to decide and it's not clear what ME will do.

He also said he would act to suspend a rule that prevents Medicaid from funding many drug rehabilitation facilities. But The New York Times reports that Trump ran into resistance from members of his administration who didn't want to commit open-ended federal funds to a growing problem. Overdose deaths in ME have climbed at a rate that has been among the highest of any state over the past four years. And the numbers have been climbing steadily for years: More than 4,000 were in state-funded treatment for opioid abuse in 2013 - up from 399 in 2000. Although the apparent plateau may seem like good news, the total number of deaths in 2016 - 376 - was the highest ever recorded in Maine. He offered no specific details, but dozens of cities, counties, and states have filed lawsuits against drug makers and drug distributors for their alleged roles in seeding the opioid crisis. It found that Maine's signature lobster industry has been hit especially hard, and that women are at greater risk because of a lack of services. Families need expanded access to substance use treatment. And it found that stigma and shame still exist as barriers to progress. It also allows grants to help people struggling with opioid addiction, but without allocating money for that goal.

The move diverges from previous promises - even as recently as Wednesday night - to declare the epidemic a "national emergency". The announcement by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan included a pledge of $50 million in new spending over five years.

These so-called medication-assisted treatments continue to be stigmatized in many places.

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A Trump-named commission headed by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is expected to release a report on an overall strategy for combating the opioid crisis on November 1. "I'm pushing the Senate to act as quickly as possible on four bipartisan bills, including the STOP Act to help stop risky synthetic drugs from being shipped into our country; the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act, which will help stop overprescribing; the Medicaid CARE Act to lift the cap on Medicaid funding for mental health and substance abuse facilities and the CRIB Act to help newborns born dependent on drugs recover".

Yesterday, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act, which would allot $45 billion for prevention, early detection and treatment of opioid abuse. "We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic".

Rep. Chellie Pingree of ME, D-1st District, said she didn't see enough specifics from the president Thursday and echoed concerns about adequate funding.

The declaration is limited, falling far short of the steps experts say is necessary to combat the crisis.

"Well, you know, I think there's more to come on that."

"A nationwide public health emergency will really reorient all of the federal government and executive branch's resources towards focusing on providing relief for this urgent need", an official said.

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