One day after a commission authorized by President Donald Trump called for national action to address America’s reliance on painkillers and its growing addiction to heroin, Trump will be holding what he called a “major briefing” on the subject.
I will be holding a major briefing on the Opioid crisis, a major problem for our country, today at 3:00 P.M. in Bedminster, N.J.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2017
“I will be holding a major briefing on the Opioid crisis, a major problem for our country, today at 3:00 P.M. in Bedminster, N.J.” Trump tweeted Tuesday. He will be joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
OPIOID CRISIS: Worse than we thought, with a new study showing overdose deaths were under reported pic.twitter.com/27kLJKRXsL
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) August 8, 2017
Trump is staying at his New Jersey property for 17 days while the HVAC system in the West Wing of the White House undergoes renovations.
Working hard from New Jersey while White House goes through long planned renovation. Going to New York next week for more meetings.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2017
Working in Bedminster, N.J., as long planned construction is being done at the White House. This is not a vacation – meetings and calls!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2017
“Working in Bedminster, N.J., as long planned construction is being done at the White House. This is not a vacation – meetings and calls!” Trump tweeted at the start of his stay.
In March, Trump commissioned a panel to guide his administration’s response to the opioid crisis.
“This is a total epidemic, and I think it’s probably almost untalked about compared to the severity that we’re witnessing,” Trump said at the time.
“Our citizens are dying. We must act boldly to stop it,” the commission wrote in the report, unveiled Monday. “The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency.”
“Your declaration would empower your 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 said.
The report outlined a series of actions, including streamlining regulations, increasing funding for treatment and increasing physician education to avoid the use of opioids that are often the gateway to heroin use.
After noting that a federal report said “four out of every five new heroin users begin with nonmedical use of prescription opioids,” the commission added that “this crisis began in our nation’s health care system.”
“While we acknowledge that some of this inappropriate overprescribing is done illegally and for profit, we believe the overwhelming percentage is due to a lack of education on these issues in our nation’s medical and dental schools and a dearth of continuing medical education for practicing clinicians,” the report said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999. From 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died of drug overdoses, the commission reported, and opioids accounted for the majority of those deaths.
“We have a 9/11-scale loss every three weeks,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chair of the commission.
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