Too Little, Too Late? Trump Finally Declares Opiate Crisis A ‘National Emergency’

trump declares opiate crisis national emergency

Between the years 2000 and 2015, roughly 500,000 people died from drug overdoses, most of which were caused by opiate abuse. This problem has been festering for quite some time and, overall, it’s worsening day-by-day. We’re at the point where there are so many addicts within our society, it has become completely overwhelming. More than ever, there are countless addicts who need help but lack the resources to obtain it.

There are the lucky few who have health insurance policies or families with the ability to place them in treatment, but on the other hand, there are many, many addicts who don’t have access to decent treatment to help them overcome their addiction for good. President Trump has finally declared the opiate crisis as a national emergency. But with the opiate problem as far progressed as it is, is it too little, too late?

Earlier this week, President Trump said "the opioid crisis is an emergency, and I am saying, officially, right now, it is an emergency. It's a national emergency. We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had."

Declaring the opiate crisis as a national emergency opens up more resources on the state and federal levels to fight the growing problem. The idea is to be able to increase treatment capacity, meaning more addicts will have access to substance abuse treatment services and medically assisted treatment programs. Also, addiction prevention efforts will be made at medical and dental schools in order to train future health care providers on the possibility of their patients abusing and becoming addicted/dependent upon opiate medication.

The disturbing part of all this is two days before President Trump declared the national emergency, Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary said doing so was unnecessary.

Price said, "We believe that at this point, the resources that we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crises can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency.”

How could anyone think it is not necessary to declare the opiate crisis a national emergency? What additional proof does anyone need to firmly understand the severity of the situation the United States is currently faced with?

It’s great the President has finally done something proactive to get the opiate problem under control because, until now, not much has been done about it. I’m definitely not in support of opening more access to medically assisted treatment because, in my opinion, it doesn’t do anything other than get an addict hooked on “government drugs” instead of heroin or illegally-purchased painkillers.

Instead, I’d like to see more access to good, high-quality treatment that actually has the potential to handle a person’s addiction once and for all without the need for replacement drugs. I believe Trump made a good decision in finally acknowledging the crisis for what it is. The good thing about this declaration is it can start bringing in more resources and attention to the issue and get politicians and everyone else on the same page as far as how to deal with the opiate problem. I believe we’re finally making strides in the right direction and hopefully we’ll start to see some good progress being made in fighting this epidemic.

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.