The opioid crisis is officially a national emergency. That, according to a declaration made by President Donald Trump yesterday.
President Trump announced Thursday he is officially declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now,” Trump said. “We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”
Trump, speaking after a security briefing at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., said his administration is preparing the paperwork for the declaration. Doing so was the most urgent recommendation in a letter sent last week to the president by his own opioid commission.
According to National Public Radio (NPR), “It’s not exactly clear what making the declaration will mean for federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis. But a number of states say similar declarations have helped.”
The commission’s report to the president said a declaration “would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life.”
The report also called on Washington to grant waiver approvals to all 50 states to eliminate barriers and allow treatment at Medicaid-funded residential facilities, a move it said would rapidly increase treatment capacity.
President Trump’s declaration is in step with what is happening here in Arizona. Back in June, Gov. Doug Ducey declared the opioid crisis a public-health emergency in our state. The Governor hopes to strengthen the state’s efforts to counter the epidemic. 790 Arizonans died from opioid overdoses last year. Because of that declaration, the Arizona Department of Health Services can now track suspected opioid overdoses through enhanced surveillance.
The declaration requires most providers to now report overdoses immediately to the state. Since mid-June, more than 200 people have reportedly died, according to the most recent numbers.
Once they get enough data, Christ said the department can fashion a more comprehensive response. But she admits this public health crisis is different from others – “things that you can rapidly respond to, you can control and then it comes to an end. The opioid epidemic is something we have been dealing with for a long time.”
Share your thoughts on whether you believe declaring opioids a national emergency will help us get a better handle on this crisis. And what difference, in real terms, do you think it will make in our state? Finding innovative solutions to today’s most difficult health issues is another way we are working to one day make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!