It’s official. Just yesterday, President Donald Trump announced that the opioid crisis will be declared a national emergency. He said in a press conference Thursday, “It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had.” Furthermore, Trump has instructed his Administration to “use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic,” says the White House.
Typically, national emergencies are only declared for natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, but in recent history there have been a few declarations for public health emergencies. Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services declared one after Puerto Rico experienced over 10,000 Zika cases. Prior to that, the last national emergency declaration made, unrelated to a natural disaster, was during the 2009-10 flu season when a widespread number of cases had officials concerned over a possible pandemic.
This announcement comes just days after Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price suggested that the declaration of a national emergency was “unnecessary.” He went on to further say, “We believe that at this point, the resources that we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear the opioid crisis can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency.” It is currently unclear what brought about the change, but like most, we are glad the President made the decision to take action against this epidemic.
The Trump Administration is currently in the process of formalizing documents to make the national emergency official. So, what does this mean for those who are currently in grips of addiction, or for the many providers out there on the front lines of the opioid crisis?
What A National Emergency Means For The Opioid Crisis
CNN tells us, “Declaring a public health emergency makes the opioid epidemic the government’s top priority, infusing much-needed cash into hard-hit areas and bolstering resources.” In other words, now the government, namely Congress, has the ability to tap into resources that were once unattainable, along with appropriating the necessary funds to fight this opioid crisis. More specifically, a national emergency would open up resources to states from the federal Disaster Relief Fund, similar to cases of hurricanes and tornadoes, as well as make the Public Health Emergency Fund available. “We are going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” says Trump.
Although specific plans have not yet been laid out in addressing this national emergency, the declaration comes on the heels of a recommendation made by the Opioid Epidemic Commission, headed by Governor Chris Christie. Along with this initial, and most crucial recommendation, the commission also provided the Trump Administration with an interim report, proposing several key areas in need of attention. Those proposals include better prescriber education, expanding treatment access, making Naloxone more readily available, and granting waiver approvals for all 50 states to eliminate regulatory barriers surrounding Medicaid programs.
Additionally, by declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency, it gives lawmakers incentive to take bolder and swifter action when addressing the overwhelming number of overdose deaths across America. Dr. Arthur Reingold, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California-Berkeley, who worked with the World Health Organization during the H1N1 pandemic, says “Typically, humans don’t get motivated until there’s actually a problem. In this case, this is a problem that has been festering for some time – and now we’re finally paying attention to it.” He goes on to explain that by declaring a national health emergency, it will help get politicians, leaders, and the public on the same page.
What The Future Has In Store
It is uncertain what this declaration will exactly bring for those affected by the opioid crisis, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. With an estimated 142 Americans dying every day from drug overdoses, the action taken by the White House has been long overdue. It is our hope that by declaring this epidemic a national health emergency, the stigma surrounding addiction will be broken and it will finally be recognized as the disease it truly is, by all of society. When we remove misconceptions and preconceived notions, we allow ourselves the opportunity to tackle this issue head-on, in a fair and objective way.
Contact Clearbrook Today For Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you know is currently struggling with opioid addiction, or addiction to other substances, please do not wait any longer! It is imperative, especially in times such as these, that you get the help and treatment you need.
For 45 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing quality drug and alcohol treatment to the chemically dependent person, while also offering education and support to the affected family members. Through utilizing an abstinence-based model of treatment, in conjunction with a medically monitored detoxification regimen, we have been able to provide solutions that work.
If you are tired of being trapped in the prison of addiction, please contact our Admissions Specialists today. We are available 24 hours a day to assist you in any way possible. Remember, recovery is possible, and you are worth it!
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