President Donald Trump (R), flanked by Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price, delivers remarks on North Korea during an opioid-related briefing at Trump’s golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., August 8, 2017.
In a briefing at President Trump’s golf estate on Tuesday, he said the United States had no alternative but to defeat an epidemic of opioid drug use. However, Trump did not mention any new policies to combat the health crisis that kills more than 100 Americans daily.
“It is a problem the likes of which we have not seen,” Trump told reporters in the midst of a two-week getaway at his golf club in New Jersey.
“We will fight this deadly epidemic, and the United States will win,” Trump added. “We will win. We have no alternative.”
In an earlier statement, Trump was expected to give a “major briefing” on opioid drug use but instead gave a few brief comments on the subject while also warning North Korea it would be met with “fire and fury” if it threatens the United States.
Video Courtesy of (PBS News Hours) August 8, 2017
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price announced that the administration is currently working on devising “a comprehensive strategy” to be presented to Trump “in the near future.”
The commission created by Trump to study opioid abuse urged him to declare a national emergency to address the opioids crisis, framing its death toll in the context of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. It’s important to note an emergency declaration could free up federal resources for the effort.
“The resources that 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, although all things are on the table for the president,” Price said in a news briefing.
According to new federal reports, drug overdose deaths continue to spike in the United States despite efforts to combat the nation’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis.
The addiction to opioids and its abuse is not only a serious problem; the abuse is a challenging public health problem—as noted in statistical data via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Over the past two decades, deaths from drug overdose have risen steadily and have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prescription drugs, specifically opioid analgesics—a class of prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone used to treat both acute and chronic pain — have increasingly been implicated in drug overdose deaths over the last decade.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics and the National Vital Statistics System, Mortality files cites in its reporting—from 1999 to 2013, the rate of drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics nearly quadrupled. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) cites deaths related to heroin have also increased sharply since 2010, with a 39 percent increase between 2012 and 2013.
Given these alarming trends, it is time for an expedient and sustainable response to prevent opioid abuse and overdose with the goal of treating individuals with opioid use disorder.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) intent on combatting the drug abuse problem, has made addressing opioid abuse a high priority. In keeping with the challenges facing the drug abuse epidemic, HHS is committed to gaining momentum on its work towards two extensive goals—decreasing opioid overdoses and overall overdose mortality and decreasing the prevalence of opioid use disorder.
Areas requiring top priority for immediate action were identified through a department wide effort, which tapped all the analytical scientific, and programmatic expertise contained in HHS agencies. Moreover, the development effort at its core relied on discussions with states and other stakeholder organizations.
The drug overdose death rate reached 19.9 cases for every 100,000 people during the late summer of 2016, compared with 16.7 cases per 100,000 the year before, the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) stated in its quarterly mortality report.
The 12-month overdose death rate also showed an increase. The rate was 18.5 overdose deaths per 100,000 people for the 12-month period ending in September 2016, compared with 16.1 deaths per 100,000 during the same period a year before, the NCHS said.
The NCHS statistics were released on August 8—the same day Trump reportedly stated that he received a “major briefing” on the opioid crisis with top administration officials at his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Richard Baum accompanied President Trump for the opioid briefing.
A White House spokesperson according to a Washington Post report said Trump was reviewing a preliminary report on the opioid crisis from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which he established in March.
The language in the report urges Trump to declare a national emergency, rapidly increase the nation’s addiction treatment capacity, and provide model legislation that would promote the use of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.
“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. It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will,” wrote the commission, which is headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
By LeNora Millen 08-10-17
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