HHS renews emergency designation for opioid crisis: 4 things to know

Eric Hargan, acting secretary for HHS, on Jan. 19 renewed the agency's declaration of public health emergency, effective Wednesday, for the nation's ongoing opioid crisis.


Here are four things to know.

1. Hargan first made the declaration in late October of last year after a directive from President Donald Trump, which was set to expire Tuesday. The renewal extends the declaration to April 23.

2. The designation allows the federal health agency to expedite the hiring of treatment specialists and reallocate funds to respond to the overdose epidemic.

"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," said a spokesperson from HHS on Jan. 19, according to Politico.

3. Public health experts maintain the designation has actually had little effect on the crisis, as it does not alone generate substantial new funding to address the national emergency.

4. While the Trump administration has taken steps outside the designation to address the opioid epidemic — including advancing research into non-opioid pain medication at the National Institutes of Health — some public health experts maintain that new funding is key to success under the emergency declaration.

"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, PhD, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, according to Politico.

More articles on opioids: 
Study: Children born to mothers who use opioids may have higher risk of certain physical abnormalities 
Delaware files opioid lawsuit against drug companies, retail pharmacies 
Autopsy reveals Tom Petty died from opioid-related overdose: 5 things to know

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