Trump declaring opioid crisis a 'public health emergency' a start

  • Trump declaring opioid crisis a 'public health emergency' a start

Trump declaring opioid crisis a 'public health emergency' a start

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the formal declaration was delayed because of the "in-depth legal process" required to do so.

The national public health emergency declaration is effective immediately and directs Eric Hargan, the acting secretary of Health and Human Services, to waive restrictions and delays for distributing federal grant money.

Trump acknowledged the effort to combat the opioid crisis will likely take years or decades but said, "We are going to overcome addiction in America".

The opioid crisis is a subject Trump focused on throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and after taking office.

"I hope Congress will follow the President's "call to action" and respond in kind by working through the barriers that prevent the fast and efficient flow of funds to communities that need the most help".

"There are a lot of good people that are seeing what's going on and I think we'll be successful in that next week I'm declaring an emergency - a national emergency - on drugs", Trump told Dobbs.

The Stafford Act would have opened up federal resources such as FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund - usually employed for natural disasters such as hurricanes Maria and Harvey.

The current budget for the Public Health Emergency Fund is $57,000.

The Public Health Emergency Fund at HHS now stands at $57,000, according to an agency spokesperson, and officials said the president's declaration won't yet include a request for Congress to replenish the fund. But it remains unclear what impact Trump's new order will have on the crisis.

"For too long, we have allowed drugs to ravage American homes, cities and towns", said Trump, who described the "very tough life" his brother led because of alcohol. "But I want the American people to know that the federal government is aggressively fighting the opioid epidemic on all fronts".

That's according to senior White House officials, who were not authorized to publicly discuss plans before the announcement and briefed journalists on condition of anonymity. Although the epidemic is increasingly being driven by heroin and the illicit use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, many people developed addictions after being prescribed opioids by their doctors for legitimate pain treatment - a fact that first lady Melania Trump highlighted as she told stories of people she had met has she has learned more about the epidemic. "Part of the reason we need the wall is for drugs".