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Now a National Emergency, State Lawmakers Take Aim at Combatting Opioid Crisis

12 August 2017

Reingold worked with the World Health Organization in 2009 during the bird flu epidemic and noted that an emergency declaration brings the necessary attention and resources to a serious problem.

The special White House panel created to examine the opioid epidemic recommended that the President declare a national emergency, however yesterday's remarks still came as a surprise. "Declare a national emergency".

Drug policy experts are critical of the praise that some have given President Donald Trump following his announcement Thursday that he would classify the opioid epidemic a national emergency.

"Trump's emergency declaration is likely going to amount to very little in the way of greater access to treatment and other help from the federal government", said Grant Smith of the Drug Policy Alliance.

"The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I am saying, officially, right now, it is an emergency".

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Trump made no mention of Christie's report on Tuesday during a briefing on the opioid crisis, instead focusing on deterrence and federal drug crime prosecutions - something not mentioned in the Christie report - and teaching young people that drugs are "no good; really bad for you".

Since Gottlieb took over pharma company Endo has said it will voluntarily withdraw its opioid painkiller Opana ER (oxymorphone) from the market after an FDA panel said the risks of addiction outweigh its pain-killing benefits.

The report issued last week states: "The opioid epidemic we are facing is unparalleled".

"This is not just a public health problem, it's not just a mental health problem, it's not just a law enforcement problem or a health care system problem".

As many as 65,000 people died from drug overdoses in the 2016, according to an analysis by The New York Times that calls drug overdoses as "the leading cause of death among Americans under 50".

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"I'm glad the president is stepping up and declaring a national emergency", Newtown police Chief Tom Synan said.

Putting more resources into preventing drug trafficking at the border, for example, wouldn't address the problem, he said. There's never been anything like whats happened to this country over the last four or five years.

Opioid deaths have more than quadrupled since 1999, and there is no end in sight to the expanding crisis. Heroin and opioids accounted for the majority of those deaths.

"Typically, humans don't get motivated until there's actually a problem", he said. It could also relax certain licensing requirements or regulations limiting the number of patients a provider can help.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that opioid overdoses claimed 33,000 lives in 2015 alone. "We all have to be in this effort together".

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Now a National Emergency, State Lawmakers Take Aim at Combatting Opioid Crisis