President Trump announced Thursday that America's opioid crisis will become a "national emergency". The Trump Administration and Congress should prioritize scaling up access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone and medication-assisted treatment, like methadone and buprenorphine, and resist efforts to expand the use of mandatory minimum sentences and criminalization. "There's never been anything like what's happened to this country over the last 4 or 5 years".
Overdoses in Florida have reached near-epidemic proportions.
Prescription painkillers and heroin contributed to some 60,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, a 19 percent surge over the previous year, according to an estimate compiled by the New York Times. For instance, President Trump made repeal of the Affordable Care Act a top priority, which would threaten healthcare and access to treatment and mental health services for millions of people living with substance use disorder.
Mercer said the upcoming declaration could help with the battle against opioids, but cautioned the effort will need money to accomplish.
National estimates found almost 33,000 people died in 2015 due to opioid overdose, but several reports have found even those numbers could be severely underreported, meaning the total number of overdoses could be much higher.
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Why Opioid is a crisis in the US? This week, Senate Appropriations chair Jack Latvala held a roundtable discussion in Palm Beach County to address the crisis.
Two drugmakers - Mylan NV and Mallickrodt Plc - said this week they were subpoenaed last month by the Justice Department over the sale, marketing and manufacture of the pain drugs.
State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, will be holding a roundtable discussion with Rep. He said his administration was "drawing up documents" and he was "officially" declaring it an emergency, but his administration has yet to release details as to what that statement means.
Declaring a national emergency could have a few different effects on the opioid crisis: it could free up federal money from the Disaster Relief Fund for states and cities to treat addiction and overdoses, for instance.
"While this is an important step, combating the opioid epidemic requires more than words - it requires meaningful action and investment", Brown said. He added, however, that "when it comes to opioids, it's really unclear" what kind of effect a federal emergency declaration would have.
Opioid deaths have more than quadrupled since 1999, and there is no end in sight to the expanding crisis. Trump has pushed back against any suggestion that he is taking a summer break, tweeting that he is holding meetings and making calls while renovations have vacated the West Wing.