WASHINGTON — In ringing and personal terms, President Donald Trump on Thursday pledged that “we will overcome addiction in America,” declaring opioid abuse a national public health emergency and announcing new steps to combat what he described as the worst drug crisis in U.S. history.

Trump’s declaration, which will be effective for 90 days and can be renewed, will allow the government to redirect resources in various ways and to expand access to medical services in rural areas. But it won’t bring new dollars to fight a scourge that kills nearly 100 people a day.

“As Americans we cannot allow this to continue,” Trump said in a speech at the White House, where he bemoaned an epidemic he said had spared no segment of society, affecting rural areas and cities, rich and poor, and both the elderly and newborns.

“It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction,” he said. “We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.”

Deaths have surged from opioids, which include some prescribed painkillers, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, often sold on the nation’s streets.

Administration officials said they also would urge Congress, during end-of-the-year budget negotiations, to add new cash to a public health emergency fund that Congress hasn’t replenished for years and contains just $57,000.

But critics said Thursday’s words weren’t enough.

“How can you say it’s an emergency if we’re not going to put a new nickel in it?” said Dr. Joseph Parks, medical director of the nonprofit National Council for Behavioral Health, which advocates for addiction treatment providers. “As far as moving the money around,” he added, “that’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said, “Show me the money.”

Trump’s audience Thursday included parents who have lost children to drug overdoses, people who have struggled with addiction, first responders and lawmakers.

Trump also spoke personally about his own family’s experience with addiction: His older brother, Fred Jr., died after struggling with alcoholism. It’s the reason the president does not drink.

Trump described his brother as a “great guy, best looking guy,” with a personality “much better than mine.”

“But he had a problem, he had a problem with alcohol,” the president said. “I learned because of Fred.”

Trump said he hoped a massive advertising campaign, which sounded reminiscent of the 1980s “Just Say No” campaign, might have a similar impact.

“If we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take ’em,” he said.

It’s a path taken by previous presidents, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, all of whom tried to rally the nation to confront drug abuse but fell short of solving the problem. Some people have become hooked on opioids after being prescribed prescription painkillers by doctors after injuries or surgery.

As a presidential candidate, Trump had pledged to make fighting addiction a priority. Once in office, Trump assembled a commission, led by Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey, to study the problem. The commission’s interim report argued an emergency declaration would free additional money and resources, but some in Trump’s administration disagreed.

“What the president did today was historic and it is an extraordinary beginning set of steps to dealing with this problem,” Christie told reporters at the White House after the speech.

Some also faulted the White House for not issuing a wider emergency declaration to deal with the crisis.

Rob Brandt, an Ohio man who lost his 20-year-old son to a heroin overdose in 2011, called Trump’s public health emergency order a “good incremental step” but urged greater focus on prevention and long-term treatment.

“The federal government has lagged behind in truly decisive action,” said Brandt, who opened an opioid recovery center in Medina, Ohio this year, run on private donations and grants.

“We lost 64,000 Americans last year,” he said, “and if you look at, if we were to have a foreign country attack us and kill 60,000 Americans or a terrorist attack that killed 60,000 Americans, we would print money to combat that.”

As a result of Trump’s declaration, officials will be able to expand access to telemedicine services, including substance abuse treatment for people living in rural and remote areas. Officials will also be able to more easily deploy state and federal workers, secure Department of Labor grants for the unemployed, and shift funding for HIV and AIDs programs to provide more substance abuse treatment for people already eligible for those programs.

Trump said his administration would also be working to reduce regulatory barriers, such as one that bars Medicaid from paying for addiction treatment in residential rehab facilities larger than 16 beds. He spoke of ongoing efforts to require opioid prescribers to undergo special training, the Justice Department’s targeting of opioid dealers and efforts to develop a non-addictive painkiller.

Trump said one specific prescription opioid, which he described as “truly evil,” would be withdrawn immediately from the market. White House spokesman Hogan Gildey later said he was referring to the painkiller Opana ER. That drug was pulled from the market in July at the Food and Drug Administration’s request following a 2015 outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C in southern Indiana linked to sharing needles to inject the pills.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Trump’s effort falls far short of what is needed and will divert staff and resources from other vital public health initiatives.

“Families in Connecticut suffering from the opioid epidemic deserve better than half measures and empty rhetoric offered seemingly as an afterthought,” he said in a statement. He argued, “An emergency of this magnitude must be met with sustained, robust funding and comprehensive treatment programs.”

Democrats also criticized Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the “Obamacare” health law. Its Medicaid expansion has been crucial in confronting the opioid epidemic.

Adopted by 31 states, the Medicaid expansion provides coverage to low-income adults previously not eligible. Many are in their 20s and 30s, a demographic hit hard by the epidemic. Medicaid pays for detox and long-term treatment.

Trump, meanwhile, tempered expectations even as he projected hope.

“Our current addiction crisis, and especially the epidemic of opioid deaths, will get worse before it gets better. But get better it will,” he said. “It will take many years and even decades to address this scourge in our society, but we must start in earnest now to combat national health emergency.

“Working together,” he said, “we will defeat this opioid epidemic. ... We will free our nation from the terrible affliction of drug abuse. And, yes, we will overcome addiction in America.”

(11) comments

public-redux

Another big win!

armillary

These are very very weak people. They expect others to do everything for them! They need to learn to help themselves. Sad!

phydeaux994

Add to the list of empty promises.

rbtdt5

empty promises? I don't understand.

rbtdt5

Campaign Promise 1: To replace Antonin Scalia with a like-minded justice from a list of 20
Trump replaced Antonin Scalia with Neil Gorsuch, an incredibly qualified and Constitution-abiding justice
*Campaign Promise 2: To suspend immigration from terror-prone countries
Trump has successfully enacted a Travel Ban that is 100% CONSTITUTIONAL AND is made from the seven (six, now) "countries of concern" outlined by the Obama Administration. This ban is part of President Trump's promise to keep every citizen of the United States safe from radical Islamic terrorism.
Campaign Promise 3: To defund and crack down on sanctuary cities
Trump has implemented a YUGE crackdown on sanctuary cities, threatening to defund them
*- Attorney General Sessions has stated that he is not messing around when it comes to sanctuary cities, and continues in the fight against cities that harbor criminal illegal aliens
Campaign Promise 4: To revive the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipeline
The revival of the Dakota and Keystone XL Pipelines creating American jobs
Campaign Promise 5: To pull the US out of the TPP, an Obama-era trade deal detrimental to the US

rbtdt5

Trump pulled us out of the TPP which would have been absolutely disastrous for the US
Campaign Promise 6: DONALD TRUMP LOVES WOMEN AND WANTS TO HELP WOMEN!
Trump has signed an Executive Order promoting women in STEM jobs (careers real feminists strive for, not "dance therapy" feminists)
Trump has Launched a Council empowering female leaders and female entrepreneurs
Campaign Promise 7: To renegotiate, or pull out of Bill Clinton's terrible trade deal, NAFTA
Trump met with Justin Trudeau (what a joke) to discuss the tweaking of NAFTA to benefit the US more, after he threatens to leave it
*- The Trump Administration has laid out what he wishes to see in regards to NAFTA reform
Campaign Promise 8: To undo ridiculous Obama-era federal agency regulations
Trump ordered a two-for-one repeal for all new regulations enacted by federal agencies
Campaign Promise 9: To rollback Obama-era regulations on small businesses
Trump has rolled back ridiculous Obama-era regulations that have made it nearly impossible for small businesses to hire employees
Trump has already saved taxpayers $86 Billion by cutting regulations
*- Trump has undone hundreds of Obama-era job killing regulations which has helped cause a significant increase of jobs
Campaign Promise 10: To help America's inner-cities deeply in need of rebuilding
Trump has signed an Executive Order to give major funding to "Historically Black Colleges and Universities," helping out inner-cities immensely

rbtdt5

Campaign Promise 11: To protect our policemen, the true everyday heroes
Trump signed an Executive Order protecting our police
Campaign Promise 12: To crackdown on illegal immigration and to BUILD A WALL
Trump has implemented a YUGE crackdown on illegal immigration and he has started the WALL initiative
Campaign Promise 13: To bolster our depleted military
Trump has increased our military budget because we don't want to use our military, but want to be prepared to use it
Campaign Promise 14: To enact a five year lobbying ban on government Officials after they leave office
Trump has placed a five year and lifetime lobbying ban on government officials for when they leave office
Campaign Promise 15: To crackdown on drug cartels and illegal drugs crossing the border
Trump signed an Executive Order cracking down on drug cartels
Campaign Promise 16: To revitalize the dying coal industry in the US
Trump has enacted Joint Resolution 38 putting thousands of coal miners back to work
Campaign Promise 17: To create American JOBS and bring companies back to America
Trump negotiated a deal with Carrier promising to bring manufacturing and jobs back to the US.
Trump has met with CEOs from huge companies to work on bringing jobs back to America
There was an increase of 298,000 jobs in February alone (liberals will say that counts in Obama's fiscal year, but we know the truth)
Trump met with Intel CEO who promised $7 Billion investment and over 3,000 high paying in America

rbtdt5

Trump met with the CEO of Softbank who has promised 50,000 more American jobs and has already fulfilled 3,000 of those jobs
Kroger has promised over 10,000 new jobs in the era of Trump
The month of March yielded 263,000 new jobs, which passes the month's estimated 185,000 Big League
Campaign Promise 18: Pushing NATO allies to pay their fair share or face the reality of the US possibly leaving
Trump has put major pressure on the members of NATO to pay their fair and equal share because there are only a handful of countries in NATO who currently pay as much as agreed upon
Campaign Promise 19: To make America energy independent, relieving us from our dependence on foreign entities, such as OPEC
Trump has taken major steps towards America's energy independence
Campaign Promise 20: To enact a hiring freeze on government employees to help stop corruption
Trump enacted a hiring freeze to all federal employees, cutting down on the over-bloated bureaucracy
Campaign Promise 21: Trump could be the president that takes us to Mars!
Trump signed a Bill allowing NASA funding, including an exploration to Mars
Campaign Promise 22: To undo many of Obama's unconstitutional Executive Orders
Rescinding (one of) Obama's incredibly unconstitutional actions regarding transgender bathrooms in schools
Campaign Promise 23: The repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The recent GOP fallout of AHCA Plan was no fault of Trump's. The blame solely belongs to Speaker Ryan. He created a s*** bill and couldn't even capitalize to get enough votes. Obamacare will crash in 2017 when individual mandates kick in and Democrats will be to blame. That is when Trump will truly work to Repeal and Replace it with a plan he promised us.
Trump got rid of the idiotic penalty in Obamacare that fines you if you choose not to participate in the program
Campaign Promise 24: To "Bomb the s*** out of ISIS"
A few days ago, Trump dropped the YUGE MOAB on a group of ISIS militants, killing 90+ terrorists and causing damage to underground tunnels and technology
He called for a drone strike in Afghanistan killing Qari Yasin, a Pakistani Al-Qaeda leader
Campaign Promise 25: To not take a salary as President

rbtdt5

Campaign Promise 26: To reform the VA and make it easier for Vets to get more healthcare opportunities
He signed A Bill allowing veterans to seek healthcare outside of the broken VA system
Trump has created the Accountability Office at the VA, making it incredibly easy to oust incompetent VA employees
Campaign Promise 27: To create a much needed tax reform
Trump has laid out an extremely concise, yet effective Tax Reform Plan to lower taxes for Americans and end things like inheritance tax, and to cut corporate tax rates down to 15%
Campaign Promise 28 (Scroll down to see "School Choice and Education Act"): To fix our country's incredibly broken education system
Trump has signed an Executive Order giving the power of our country's education back to state and local authorities
ACTIONS NOT PROMISED ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, BUT HAVE BEEN PUT IN EFFECT:
(Even though it was Mike Pence) The defunding of clinics that perform abortions. Because no matter whether you are pro-choice/pro-life, the government should not be funding abortions. (Also, if people bring up the Hyde Amendment which is supposed to not let any federal funding go towards abortions, LET THEM KNOW that US taxpayers pay for about 24% of abortions despite of that "amendment")
Huge spikes in the NASDAQ average index and the DOW average index starting November 8th. (This will count for Obama unfortunately, but we know where the real credit belongs.)
He has placed sanctions on Iran after they tested ballistic missiles
He has met with/talked to over 68 foreign leaders
He negotiated down the Price of the new Air Force One one billion dollars in a meeting that lasted just one hour
He issued major cuts to the costs of the F-35 saving billions
He has opened the eyes of the American public to just how unbelievably corrupt (pretty believable to most) the Obama Administration was.
After spending 3 years in a prison in Egypt, and absolutely no help from President Obama, humanitarian and US citizen Aya Hijazi has safely returned home and has given all credit to President Trump

Fawned

Can you imagine being this delusional and having this much time on your hands?? [lol]

rbtdt5

You're right Fawned, I probably forgot some. He is accomplishing so much it's hard to keep up.

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