Local health officials commend President's approach to opioid crisis

Trump to Declare Opioids 'Public Health Emergency'

Encouraging pharmaceutical companies to develop painkillers that aren't addictive.

The Trump administration plans to announce a new policy to overcome a "restrictive 1970s-era rule" that prevents states from providing care at certain treatment facilities with more than 16 beds for those suffering from drug addiction. He calls the opioid crisis a "national shame".

Over the past six years overdose deaths have outnumbered those from guns, cars, suicide and murders.

"There hasn't really been an investment in that work-pathway for people recovering from substance abuse disorders", Craig says.

Trump said "it's really, really easy" not to use drugs if you never start - and suggested public education would be an important strategy for the government. In turn, it would have opened new funding streams for combating the problem.

"The declaration of an opioid public health emergency and not a state of national emergency does not go far enough", said NACCHO┬┤s Laura Hanen, the association┬┤s interim executive director. Those limits could also be adjusted under a national emergency declaration. Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the formal declaration was delayed because of the "in-depth legal process" required to do so. A study from October 2016 by Curtis Florence, PhD, and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimated the cost of combating the opioid crisis at $78.5 billion. "It's a publicity stunt", Nerenberg said. "We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic". A statement from Christie said the commission will give Trump "an even more comprehensive set of recommendations" to fight opioids in a report to be issued November 1.

While much of the country has been mired in an opioid crisis for the past several years, the problem has been particularly acute in ME, which has seen a high rate of consumption of prescription opioid painkillers. They said any national resources and attention that could be devoted to the issue will help save lives.




Massachusetts Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey said Trump's action was "woefully inadequate to address the challenges we face".

Trump said he would require prescribers who work for the federal government to "receive, finally, special training" for prescribing opioids. "This is not the way to fight an epidemic of this magnitude".

Trump said he would discuss stopping the flow of fentanyl, a drug 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Asia next month. "They are all commonly treated with a range of controlled substances which, until now, have not been able to be prescribed by telemedicine", ATA President Peter Yellowlees, MD, said.

With Trump's declaration, the U.S. federal government will waive some regulations, give states more flexibility in how they use federal funds and expand the use of telemedicine treatment.

"Officials said the declaration would help fight abuse of prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl by expanding access to treatment, and curb delays in staffing the Department of Health and Human Services to help states grapple with the crisis".

But it still comes down to resources, she said, and she'd like to see more funding committed.

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