The announcement comes several days after a White House commission recommended the move.
The news comes just days after Trump administration officials, including Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, suggested that Trump would not declare a national emergency. “We believe at this point that the resources we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crisis, at this point, can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency,” Price said, although he clarified that the option remains “on the table.”
It also comes more than a week after a White House commission on the drug crisis, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in a preliminary report recommended the president declare the epidemic a national emergency. In 2016 alone, drug overdoses likely killed more Americans in one year than the entire Vietnam War. In 2015, drug overdoses topped annual deaths from car crashes, gun violence, and even HIV/AIDS during that epidemic’s peak in 1995.
“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks,” the commission’s report argues. “After September 11th, our President and our nation banded together to use every tool at our disposal to prevent any further American deaths. Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life.”
The declaration is supposed to empower the Trump administration to carry out the commission’s other recommendations.
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