President Donald Trump will declare our nation’s skyrocketing opioid abuse epidemic as a ‘public health emergency’ today.
The declaration of a public health emergency will “reorient all of the federal government and executive branch resources toward focusing on providing relief to this urgent need,” a senior White House official told reporters Thursday on condition of anonymity.
Past instances of public health emergencies in the U.S. include the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, as well severe weather events and natural disasters.
The declaration alone provides no additional money to combat the problem but allows existing grants to be redirected to better deal with the crisis.
According to USA Today, “In an address from the White House, Trump will also try to rally the nation to a growing epidemic that claimed 64,000 American lives last year, and will advocate for a sustained national effort to end to the addiction crisis.
“Drug demand and opioid misuse is the crisis next door,” said Kellyanne Conway, a senior counselor to the president, previewing the tone of Trump’s speech Wednesday. “This is no longer someone else’s co-worker, someone else’s community, someone else’s kid. Drug use knows no geographic boundaries or demographic differences.”
(President) Trump has said an emergency designation will give his administration the “power to do things that you can’t do right now.”
Opioid-related deaths among Americans has nearly doubled since 2009, and the number of admissions to intensive care units related to opioid use has gone up by 34%, according to a recent study in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
Opioid abuse is an issue close to the hearts of many Arizonans. As you likely know, Governor Doug Ducey issued an emergency declaration in June to help fight the opioid crisis in our state.
The most recent opioid data found on the Arizona Department of Health Services website shows that there have been 471 suspected opioid deaths in our state this year and a staggering 3,599 suspected opioid overdoses.
We would love to hear your thoughts on whether the President’s declaration can make a real difference in the fight against the opioid epidemic……particularly here in Arizona. What do you believe it will take to help us turn the corner and get the upper hand in this battle? Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!