Trump to Extend Opioid Emergency After Little Action

Public health experts contend that the current emergency declaration, which began in late October and is to expire Tuesday, has produced very little of consequence. Some 42,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2016.

The Trump administration is extending an emergency declaration for the opioid crisis after accomplishing little under the order since it was announced three months ago, reports Politico. A notice posted to the Health and Human Services Department website said acting Secretary Eric Hargan would extend the public health emergency, which was originally declared in late October. The order was originally set to expire Tuesday. The designation gives federal health agencies the authority to hire more treatment specialists quickly and reallocate money to strengthen the response to the epidemic that killed more than 42,000 people in 2016.

“This is further evidence of the Trump administration’s strong, ongoing commitment to addressing this crisis and protecting the health and well-being of the American people,” a HHS spokesperson said. Public health experts contend that the emergency declaration so far has produced very little of consequence. President Trump has not proposed new funding or resources to help states respond to the crisis, and his administration has yet to launch the massive media campaign he promised in October. Trump has not named top officials to lead key agencies combating the crisis, and he again hopes to cut the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s 2019 budget by 95 percent. “We are hopeful the administration and Congress will use this renewal to focus on getting new dollars to states to scale up treatment, recovery and prevention programs,” said Mike Fraser of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.