Opioid commission to Trump: Declare epidemic a national emergency

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The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis delivered its interim report to President Donald Trump Monday. The report contains several recommendations for how to address the opioid epidemic, one of which encourages the president to declare the country's opioid overdose crisis a national emergency.

Here are four things to know,

1. The commission, led by Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., drafted the interim report after speaking with the nation's governors and holding a bipartisan listening session with members of Congress. Additionally, individual commission members sought recommendations on how to address the opioid epidemic from addiction psychiatrists, physicians and medical educators, among other sources.

2. The commission describes the declaration of a national emergency as its "first and most urgent recommendation."

"Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act. With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks," advised the commission. "After September 11th, our president and our nation banded together to use every tool at our disposal to prevent any further American deaths. 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."

3. Additional recommendations made by the commission in the interim report include:

  • Expanding addiction treatment services under Medicaid
  • Mandating education on opioid prescribing for providers
  • Expanding access to medication-assisted addiction treatment
  • Expanding access to naloxone
  • Bolstering the ability the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection to identify fentanyl at the border.

4. The commission's interim report was delayed twice. Its final report is due in October. Multiple governors in states like Florida and Arizona have already declared states of emergency regarding the opioid epidemic.

More articles on opioids: 
Man kills Indiana physician who refused to prescribe wife opioids 
FDA votes down Intellipharmaceutic's long-acting opioid: 5 things to know 
Fatal car crashes linked to opioids jump 700% in 20 years

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