Former Health Secretary: Mixed Message From Trump Administration On Opioid Epidemic

Opinion Election of Trump Reveals Cultural Divide and Flaws in Our Democratic System

Fighting the scourge of opioids

Trump said he's not ready to do that yet, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told reporters that national emergencies are usually used in a "time-limited problem" like the Zika virus outbreak.

Experts have said that declaring a national emergency could help free up federal funding for states dealing with an overdose crisis that, the commission said, kills 142 Americans a day, though some advocates anxious the Trump administration would have used the declaration to return to policies similar to the war on drugs.

President Trump is meeting with his health secretary, Tom Price, on Tuesday to discuss the problem.

Asked about the renewed emphasis on law and order in dealing with the crisis, including from President Trump himself, Christ says she does see an important role for law enforcement in addressing the illegal supply of drugs. Since 1999, the number of opioid overdoses has quadrupled, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and as of 2015, 27 million people were reported now using prescription or illegal drugs.

"Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act", the five-member panel wrote to the president, adding that the option is "direct and completely within your control".

"And we have the drug lords in Mexico that are knocking the hell out of our country", Mr Trump said, according to a transcript of the conversation obtained by the Washington Post.

Trump focused mostly on law enforcement and shifted blame on the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama. A Washington Post analysis found that overdose death rates for people between the ages of 25 and 44 have risen for nearly every racial and ethnic group across almost all U.S. states.

Such programs "teach students the social skills they need to refuse drugs and give them opportunities to practice these skills with other students - for example, by asking students to play roles on both sides of a conversation about drugs, while instructors coach them about what to say and do", Scientific American explained.

"The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place", Trump said.

Norcross, vice-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, announced his own bill Tuesday to improve addiction education.

Trump spoke often on the campaign trail about the devastation that opioid addiction has caused in communities, particularly rural, lower-income and working-class areas.

"I don't think though that the American government has any clue as how to go about addressing this in an effective way which is obviously a problem, since there are a lot of over doses", Preston said.

Though the Trump White House is reportedly giving serious consideration to the opioid crisis, the administration's 2018 budget proposal could undercut efforts to take action on the issue.

On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, the New Jersey governor said that the opioid epidemic is responsible for a "9/11-scale loss of life every three weeks". Whether it's heroin or painkillers or anything in between, this is nothing short of a national emergency, and to the commission's credit, they recommended to the President that he declare just that - a state of emergency.

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