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Trump Declares Opioid Epidemic a National Emergency

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President Donald Trump has officially declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency.

“The opioid crisis is an emergency and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump told reporters on Thursday. “It’s 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. It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had.”

The administration hasn’t announced any specific plans for how they plan to combat the opioid issue, though declaring it a national emergency means more government resources may become available. Typically, national emergencies are declared for shorter-term emergencies like natural disasters and health crises like the Zika virus.

“You know when I was growing up they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs. There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years,” Trump said. “And I have to say this in all fairness, this is a worldwide problem, not just a United States problem.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has addressed the opioid epidemic — in a briefing on Tuesday, he said the best way to fight the issue is to “prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place” and that young people need to be told opioids are “no good, really bad for you in every way.”

In these comments, and in his declaration today, he appears to be leaving out a large, often-forgotten group of opioid users: those with chronic illnesses who take opioids as prescribed by their doctors to improve their quality of life. Read what our Mighty community with chronic pain had to say when we asked what they wish politicians knew about opioids here.

Originally published: August 10, 2017
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