Strong law enforcement needed to combat Opioid crisis

An estimated 2.4 million individuals in the US are currently experiencing problematic opioid use

President Donald Trump yesterday vowed that the US will fight and win the battle against the deadly opioid epidemic but stopped short of declaring it a national emergency as a White House Commission recommended last week.

After having been recommended by a White House task force to take immediate action concerning the opioid crisis, President Trump has decided against declaring a national state of emergency.

Trump will be briefed on the crisis by Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price.

"I'm very happy that he's addressing the problem, I would like to see it as a national emergency, it is", she said.

Price said the briefing included discussion of policies outlined in the commission's report, including expanding resources for treatment and recovery, increasing access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and improving data collection and sharing efforts.

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The opioid crisis became a top issue in the campaign after presidential candidates who visited New Hampshire heard about the problem.

Trump addressed the severity of the issue Tuesday, saying "nobody is safe" and encouraging a focus on preventative measures.

"We're also working with law enforcement officers to protect innocent citizens from drug dealers that poison our communities. If they do start, it's awfully tough to get off", Trump said.

"The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place", said Trump, according to CNN.

On Monday, New Jersey Congressman Donald Norcross (D-1) wrote a letter to Trump and said the administration had not done enough to address the opioid epidemic. "We're going to be bring them up and bringing them up rapidly". "The number of opioid overdoses has quadrupled, along with the number of opioid prescriptions, over the last two decades", the piece states.

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Recent studies have detailed the devastating extent of the opioid epidemic. The agency reported that the number of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. has also almost quadrupled since 1999, but that there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report.

Activists have called on the Trump Administration to finally do more to combat the crisis. The reality, experts say, is a solution to the problem could be in how doctors prescribe addictive drugs like hydrocodone, OxyContin and Percocet.

An emergency declaration under the Stafford Act - the law that governs natural disaster declarations and some public health emergencies - could let states in some of the hardest-hit areas apply for millions of dollars in federal aid through the Disaster Relief Fund.

"I think when we have a single cause of death that has increased as dramatically as the rate of opioid overdose and particularly to the magnitude we've reached now, it is an unusual situation that requires unusual measures", Butler said.

After meeting with Trump, though, Price told reporters that the Trump administration believes they can fight the opioid epidemic without declaring a national emergency, a comment that refutes the commission's findings.

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