President Donald J Trump finally is formally declaring a “national emergency” on the opioid epidemic.
“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,” Trump said.
Trump told “his Administration to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic,” in a statement released by the Whitehouse.
Trump mentioned to reporters the opioid crisis is a “serious problem the likes of which we never had” and said he was writing up documents “to so attest.”
The White House commission who was tasked with seeking ways to combat and care for the nation’s growing opioid crisis strongly advocated earlier this month that Trump declare a national crisis to combat the matter.
“The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control,” was the statement issued by the commission. “Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.”
Trump said he will be writing up his statement to formalize the his plan. Here’s what that plan could entail.
Access to More Money
An emergency declaration would convince local, state, and national governments to allocate more funds to combat the opioid epidemic.
The declaration would enable the President’s cabinet to take strong action and would make Congress concentrate on funding and enabling the Executive Branch further to handle this crisis.
The emergency declaration would enable the government to have access into funds that are for specific purpose, possibly including the Public Health Emergency Fund.
It provides Congress and the President quick ways to fund what has to be financed to rescue the lives that are dying by the day and helps the Cabinet move on this matter.
Lyle Fired of The Shores Treatment and Recovery is encouraged and says, “That’s a first step. It’s not an end-all. It’s not a solution, but it is an absolute first step. From there we need to talk about increasing services. What does that look like? What’s the most efficient way?”
Attract More Attention to the Crisis
When a President declares a National Emergency it can bring more focus to the health emergency, the commission said.
The Commission thought by the President declaring an emergency it would awaken all Americans to the reality of the situation: if this epidemic hasn’t effected your family or you yet, without action by the country, it will soon. They commission stated, ““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.”
Mendell agreed that the emergency needs more focus and action.
“People are talking about this more and more, but if the president were to declare this a national emergency, it creates recognition around the country and awareness around the country that this epidemic needs right now,” he said.
Mendell blamed the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness when asked why an emergency had not already been announced.
But the declaration of emergency might help change that stigma, Mendell said.
Previous National Emergency Declarations
This isn’t the first Public Health Emergency Declaration by the Department of Health and Human Services. Past crisis declarations were issued after natural disasters and for spread of diseases.
The first declaration issued was for Puerto Rico in August 2016 for the Zika virus outbreak. It was last revived in April of 2017.
National emergencies were also declared in New York after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and for the state of Missouri after a string of tornados and storms in Spring of 2011.
Source: Associated Press