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US - Trump directs administration to treat opioid crisis as a ‘national emergency’
President Trump directed his administration Thursday to treat the opioid epidemic as a national emergency, following through on his own commission’s advice just days after his health secretary suggested the president didn’t need additional powers to fight the scourge of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.
In a one-sentence release, the White House said Mr. Trump “has instructed his Administration to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic.”
Declaring a national emergency was the “first and most urgent” recommendation in the interim report issued last month by Mr. Trump’s commission on opioid addiction, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price this week said Mr. Trump had the tools he needed to fight the problem without a declaration, though the president signaled a turnabout earlier Thursday.
“We’re going to draw it up and we’re going to make it a national emergency,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had.”
It’s unclear how, exactly, the fight against rampant addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin would change under an emergency declaration.