President Trump Declares Opioid Crisis 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,” said President Trump on Thursday, accepting the recommendation of the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis by declaring a national emergency. The president’s surprise announcement came two days after Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway discussed the Commission’s interim report in a press conference, vowing to devote resources to combat the epidemic, but stopped short of an emergency declaration. Declaring the crisis an emergency is expected to improve prevention, treatment, and recovery outcomes by directing and mobilizing additional resources to address addiction; however, the specifics are not yet clear.
The bipartisan Commission, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, provided additional recommendations which include increasing treatment capacity for those living with addiction and better educating prescribers about the potential for abuse. There are currently six states that have already declared the opioid crisis an emergency, responding by directing funding to medication-assisted treatment programs, tightening prescribing rules, and allowing broader access to naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug. A national declaration may result in similar actions being taken at the federal level.
Resources for Meeting with Representatives Over Congressional Recess
NACCHO’s most recent Action Alert provided an advocacy toolkit and asked for leadership in sharing information with representatives, as the fiscal year ends on September 30 and congress will need to make decisions about funding priorities impacting community health. Members of Congress will be adjourned until September 5. During the recess, members are more likely to be in their districts, giving you more opportunities to meet with your representative. Here are some additional NACCHO resources for public health advocacy:
- Contact your Member of Congress and set up a meeting using the Advocacy Toolkit
- Attend a Townhall in your district
- Submit an op-ed to your local paper; an example from Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan
- Visit NACCHO’s Action Center to take action on a public health campaign
State Lawmakers Return to Sacramento Next Week
California’s Senators and Assemblymembers have been on recess since July 21 and will return to Sacramento next Monday. Once lawmakers arrive, they will be met with a series of quickly approaching bill deadlines until September 15, when the first-year of the two-year legislative session comes to an end.