Aug. 10, 2017 -- President Donald Trump on Thursday said he plans to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.
Trump, speaking to reporters outside his Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey, himself declared the crisis an “emergency.”
“We’re gonna spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” he said.
The president’s remarks come 2 days after Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the administration had no plans to declare a national emergency over opioid use.
“It is a serious problem the likes of which we had never had,” Trump said Thursday. “When I was growing up, they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs. There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last 4 or 5 years.”
The president’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released an interim report that urged Trump to immediately declare a national emergency.
Chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the commission says the opioid crisis is like a “September 11th every three weeks” in terms of the number of Americans dying from overdoses.
More than 33,000 people died in 2015 from opioid overdoses, the CDC says. More than 140 die every day from some kind of drug overdose, the commission’s report says.
A report released this month shows the percentage of drug overdose deaths from synthetic opioids increased from 8% to 18% between 2010 and 2015.
The commission says Trump’s administration should boost the government’s ability to treat people with addictions, grant waivers to all 50 states to allow Medicaid to offer addiction treatment, and provide federal money to pay for medication, like methadone, to treat addictions.