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By Jill Drachenberg, Editor, AHC Media
The nation’s opioid epidemic has reached crisis levels worthy of declaring a national emergency, according to a report from the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
The commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was established in March by the Trump administration to study ways to combat and treat the rise in drug abuse and addiction, particularly the opioid crisis. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicate that 142 people die in the United States every day from drug overdoses, according to the report — more per year than car accidents and gun homicides combined. “This is an epidemic that all Americans face because here is the grim reality: Americans consume more opioids than any other country in the world,” the report authors stated. “In fact, in 2015, the amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.”
Declaring a national state of emergency under the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act will “empower [the president’s] 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,” the report authors wrote.
The commission’s recommendations include the following:
The interim report implores President Trump to take immediate action and declare a national emergency. The commission’s final report will include more recommendations in detail.