US President Donald Trump is not declaring a national emergency over the intensifying opioid crisis as suggested by a commission he himself organized.
Trump said on Tuesday that the US would “win” the fight against the heroin and opioid plague, but did not announce any new policy.
Instead, he said that the country is “very, very tough on the southern border where much of this comes in, and we’re talking to China, where certain forms of manmade drug comes in and it is bad.”
“The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place,” he said at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “I’m confident that by working with our health care and law enforcement experts, we will fight this deadly epidemic and the United States will win.”
Declaring a state of emergency is important in that it allows the government to quickly lift restrictions or waive rules for states and local governments to be able to stop waiting and take prompt actions.
The presidential opioid commission, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, called on Trump last week to “declare a national emergency,” noting, “America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
The commission recommended that the treatment facilities should be expanded across the US, doctors should be educated and equipped about the proper way to prescribe pain medication and police officers ought to be equipped with the anti-overdose remedy Naloxone.
Each day, more than 140 Americans are dying of drug overdoses across the country, reports show.
In 2015 alone, approximately 35,000 people died of heroin or opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Also, a new University of Virginia study showed that the mortality rates had an increase of 24 percent for opioids and 22 percent higher for heroin than had been formerly reported.
On Tuesday, officials said some two dozen people were treated for heroin overdoses over the weekend in and around Cincinnati, Ohio.
“This surge shows that we can’t keep using a Band-Aid to fight this epidemic,” City Council President Yvette Simpson said. “It is a devastating public issue.”