Trump says he'll declare opioid addiction a national emergency

Toluse Olorunnipa and Anna Edney, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said he's ready to declare opioid addiction a national emergency, which could clear the way for extra funding and government authority to address a wave of overdose deaths.

"We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," Trump said Thursday as he addressed reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. "This is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest."

Trump, who made the issue a key talking point during his campaign, previously received on an interim report from a commission he appointed that called for declaration of a national emergency. The action would give the administration additional funding and powers, such as negotiating lower prices for overdose reversal drugs, according to the draft.

More than 33,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA. Most opioid overdose deaths are linked to prescription pain pills, though use of heroin is growing rapidly, accounting for almost 13,000 deaths in 2015, according to NIDA.

Trump also has called for tougher law enforcement, including locking up more drug dealers after what he said was a decline in drug-related prosecutions since 2011, and more aggressive policing at U.S. borders to stop the import of heroin and synthetic opioids.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Tuesday the administration was coming up with a comprehensive strategy on opioids that would be presented to Trump in the future but the crisis could be handled "without the declaration of a national emergency."

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