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White House rejects appeal to call national emergency over opioid epidemic

10 August 2017

At an event Donald Trump had billed as a "major briefing" on the opioid crisis gripping America, the president on Tuesday stressed that "strong, strong law enforcement" was vital and rebuffed an official call to declare a national emergency.

A preliminary report compared the death toll to a 'September 11th every three weeks, ' the Washington Post reported.

"We believe, at this point, that the resources that we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crisis can be addressed without the declaration of the emergency", Price said Tuesday in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The top recommendation from President Trump's commission on the opioid crisis was for the president to declare a national public health emergency. He said the administration believes at this point they have the resources needed to address the opioid problem, "but all things are on the table".

Earlier this year, Mr Trump told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that he won the state of New Hampshire during the presidential election because it is "a drug-infested den".

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NBC News reported the commission recommended expanding treatment facilities across the USA, equipping police officers with the anti-overdose remedy Naloxone, and educating and equipping doctors on the proper way to prescribe pain medication. "And nowhere do we pay the price as dearly as with prescription opioid medications". He emerged from the briefing with two ideas for combating the epidemic: Telling young people that opioids are bad and strengthening the war on drugs.

Declaring a state of emergency on opioids would immediately open up federal dollars for drug addiction treatment and allow Medicaid to pay for inpatient treatment at facilities with more than 16 beds, greatly increasing the capacity of the health care system to treat those with opioid dependencies.

"You have a big problem in West Virginia, and we are going to solve that problem", said Trump.

Trump tweeted an announcement of the speech just after he retweeted a Fox & Friends report on the crisis.

The agency reported that the number of prescription opioids sold in the USA has also almost quadrupled since 1999, but that there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report.

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"If they don't start, they won't have a problem", he told reporters. He said last week that he had gotten "great" feedback from the White House on his panel's recommendations and that he anticipates that "many, if not all, of them done by the president". "Everybody is threatened", Trump said.

In 2014 alone, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids.

"We need to see more help, we need to see more help from the government, the insurance companies, everyone needs to step up to the plate", she said.

The task force largely encouraged a public health approach to the epidemic.

He went on to say, "So, we're going to do our job, we're going to get it going".

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"Much of it is being done without the declaration of a national emergency", Price said in a press briefing in New Jersey, where the president is vacationing. There were 36,450 fatal overdoses nationwide in 2008 and 47,055 in 2014, but half of the deaths reported unspecified drugs and in one-fifth to one-quarter, it was the only drug-related designation included.

White House rejects appeal to call national emergency over opioid epidemic