aside President Declares Opioid Crisis As Public Emergency VS A National Emergency

Image result for photo President giving press conference

The republican President Donald Trump has long been promising to declare the opioid crisis as a “National Emergency ever since he started running for elected office. On October 26, the White House has announced that the president will hold a press conference where he will define the opioid crisis as a public health emergency which falls short of the standard of being “National Emergency.”

The president believes the designation of a “public health emergency for this health epidemic is better suited for an emergency which will require long term follow-up whereas, a National Emergency” declaration is designed to be more in response to a shorter term event like a hurricane disaster. The problem with the “public health emergency” announcement is that this pronouncement would place oversight of this opioid crisis under HHS, Health and Human Services Department which is vastly under-funded and under-staffed.

Image result for photo President giving press conference

Here is the rest of the story….

On October 26, 2017, Julie Hirschfeld Davis of the New York Times penned the following report, “Trump to Declare Opioid Crisis a ‘Public Health Emergency.’

Excerpts:

“President Trump on Thursday will announce he is directing his Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, senior administration officials said, taking long-anticipated action to address a rapidly escalating epidemic of drug use in the United States.”

Image result for photos of folks working on opioid use

“The move falls short of Mr. Trump’s sweeping promise to declare a national emergency on opioids, which would have triggered the rapid allocation of federal funding to address the issue, and does not on its own release any money to deal with the drug abuse that claimed more than 59,000 lives in 2016.”

“But it would allow some grant money to be used for a broad array of efforts to combat opioid abuse, and would ease certain laws and regulations to address it.”

Image result for photos of folks working on opioid use

“Mr. Trump’s directive, to be announced in an address at the White House on Thursday afternoon before he signs a presidential memorandum on opioids, would fulfill a vow that he made when he assumed office to make tackling opioid abuse one of his top priorities. But he has so far taken limited action to carry that out.”

“The officials argued that a national emergency declaration was not necessary or helpful in the case of the opioid crisis, and that the powers associated with a public health emergency were better suited to address the issue.”

Image result for photos of folks working on opioid use

“The Trump administration, they added, would work with Congress to secure money to combat opioids in a year-end spending package, including through the Public Health Emergency Fund.”

“The president in August called the opioid crisis a “national emergency.” But he did not sign a formal declaration designating it as such, allowing the prospect to languish amid resistance in his administration about making an open-ended commitment of federal funds to deal with a crisis that has shown no signs of abating. The crisis has claimed tens of thousands of lives— a death rate that one administration official noted Thursday (10/26/17) rivals the number of Americans killed during the Vietnam War.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF hhs headquarters

“Beyond the lack of funding, it is not clear how much impact the public health declaration will have in the short term, given that Mr. Trump has yet to name central players who would carry it out, including a drug czar to steer a broader strategy on opioids and a secretary of Health and Human Services who would tailor policies and identify funding streams.”

Representative Tom Marino, the Pennsylvania Republican whom Mr. Trump had named to head his Office of National Drug Control Policy, withdrew last week after reports that he did the bidding of the pharmaceutical industry in weakening law enforcement’s ability to curb drug sales in efforts to block black-market sales of opioids. The White House has yet to announce a new candidate.

Image result for PHOTO OF TOM PRICE
SEC TOM PRICE FORCED TO RESIGN

“And Tom Price resigned last month as health secretary after it was revealed he was flying on private jets paid for with taxpayer dollars; a nominee has not been named for that post either.”

“But proponents, including some anti-addiction groups and physicians, argue Mr. Trump’s action is an important symbolic step that would raise awareness and spark a new sense of urgency to deal with the opioid scourge.”

“The administration officials said a public health emergency declaration would quickly lead to crucial changes, including the potential to secure federal grant money and the expansion of access to telemedicine services, which would broaden the reach of medical treatment to rural areas ravaged by opioid use and where doctors are often in short supply.”

Image result for photo of gov chris christie on opioid use

Mr. Trump’s promises to focus on the opioid crisis helped propel him to victory in New Hampshire’s primary last year.

As president, he formed an opioid commission in March and installed at the helm Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a rival for the Republican nomination who had championed the issue during the 2016 race. In July, the commission recommended that the president declare a national emergency — either under the Stafford Act, which would have prompted the allocation of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, or the Public Health Service Act, the option Mr. Trump has chosen.

Editorial cartoon on President Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell

Mr. Price had ruled out the idea of a national emergency, in part because of concerns about the potentially exorbitant costs to the federal government. Still, Mr. Trump surprised his advisers by telling reporters soon after his commission’s report that he was ready to take just such a step.”

“There have been few major actions to match those words, even as administration officials have worked feverishly behind the scenes to come to agreement on an opioid policy that would reflect the president’s position.”

Image result for photo of gov chris christie on opioid use
GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE

In the meantime, members of Mr. Trump’s opioid commission and lawmakers in both parties had grown impatient for action. On Wednesday, a group of Democrats led by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan released a letter they wrote to the president asking him to allow the government to negotiate lower prices for naloxone, a drug that quickly counteracts the effects of opioid overdoses. Declaring a state of emergency would give the secretary of Health and Human Services the power to seek such price reductions, they said.

Mr. Christie commended the president on Thursday for what he called “bold action” to address the opioid crisis, and said the commission would put forth a comprehensive plan next week.

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11 comments

  1. Go after the real drug pushers… BIG PHARMA!
    His announcement is nothing but lip service, we all know Republicans/ and Democrats are in the pocket of international drug companies. Nothing is going to change, there will be no “War on Opioids” b/c these are legal poisons! Gov’t is the mafia kingpin that runs this operation, allowing manufacturing, distribution, profiteering from the suffering of it’s citizens.

    The best way to get rid of ALL drugs legal and illegal is not to use them. Diet, exercise and clean living is the best way to avoid pain and suffering in this world, there are no short cuts or quick fixes.

    No President can proclaim or legislate drug problems away. And they will never tell us the truth, that’s how we’re kept enslaved in this system of dependency.

    • Dear !EartUnited,

      You are right. Some pharma companies acted like drug pushers.

      What many don’t realize is that this could happen to anyone. In the not so far past, unscrupulous pharma companies paid for studies that proved to doctors that opioids were not addictive as previously believed. The opioiids that we are talking about are stronger than morphine. Many folks mispronounced the drugs calling it oxycodiene making it sound like it was a less innocuous drug in the codeine family.

      Because it is an effective pain killer, it was then widely prescribed and now you know the rest of the story…

  2. Gronda, to his credit, he did make a symbolic step. But, without funding and a plan from the agencies to execute right now it more optics than substance. The connection which is lost is the proposals to cut back Medicaid funding and the ACA. People need healthcare, as well as the mental health component. Meducaud finding has increased due to opiods, but the ACA repeal bills would have been harmful.

    As for the pharmaceutical industry, it is not uncommon for reps to use their influence and biased data to sell their wares. To convince doctors that opiods would not be addictive was malfeasance. And, doctors truly did not ask enough questions and are culpable.

    My wife had some minor surgeries and we told the doctors three times we did not want opiod painkillers. She has been taking ibuprophen for her pain. The doctors were accommodating, but they did ask why. You have to ask.

    Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      I can’t believe the doctor was questioning why your wife didn’t want an opioid pain killer.. The doctors and big pharma were party to being drug pushers to where they have ruined numerous lives.

      Medicaid expansion has been a big help in providing treatment to those who are addicted. Those legislators in states which did not participate in medicaid expansion are responsible for folks not being to have access to treatment and for the increase in deaths.

      Hugs, Gronda.

      • Gronda, many things frustrate me. Our elected leaders have an opportunity to study comparative data contrasting outcomes in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid versus the 19 that did not. One such study, for example, revealed a lesser personal bankruptcy rate and better hospital accounts receivables in states that did expand. Instead, we have GOP leaders try to ram change to repeal and replaced the ACA, including limiting Medicaid. This is telling by itself. Keith

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