Trump delays action on opioid menace

WASHINGTON DC- AUGUST 2  U.S. President Donald Trump makes an announcement on the introduction of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act in the Roosevelt Room at the White House

Price took questions from reporters.

The "plan" Trump announced is not at all the same as the one recently recommended to him by his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Christie, who wrote much of the report, was not among the dozen people at the meeting because he is on vacation overseas. That points to the need to expand treatment for people who are already addicted to opioids, experts say.

Trump would not be the first administration to crack down on drug use by focusing on enforcement, but Piper said doing so would play into a desire to "sound tough", not actually solve the problem.

Mr. Benitez said an influx of federal funding would be crucial in places like Philadelphia, where the heroin is the purest and cheapest in the country, and where he and his staff are working against a death toll that could hit 1,200 by year's end. He also the average sentence length for a convicted federal drug offender decreased by 20 percent from 2009 to 2016.

"We didn't get here overnight, so we can't deal with this overnight", she said.

NBC News reported the commission recommended expanding treatment facilities across the United States, equipping police officers with the anti-overdose remedy Naloxone, and educating and equipping doctors on the proper way to prescribe pain medication.

"Our citizens are dying", the report said.

"It's a complicated issue because it involves treatment, recovery programs, law enforcement techniques; that's what we've talked about, and I'm encouraged", he said.

Emergency declaration or not, it appears that Trump continues weighing enforcement-focused initiatives, including those advocated by Sessions. It's something that he has given the appearance of actually caring about, despite the fact that his party's healthcare bills - all of which have failed - would have robbed tens of millions of the poorest Americans of treatment related to drug abuse.

It is speculated that Trump is likely to address one or more of these recommendations in his address today.

The commission cited government data showing that since 1999, USA opioid overdoses have quadrupled; almost two-thirds of drug overdoses were linked to opioids such as heroin and Percocet, OxyContin and fentanyl. "The president understands the magnitude of this challenge", Price said.

On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, the New Jersey governor said that the opioid epidemic is responsible for a "9/11-scale loss of life every three weeks".

"But we're being very, very strong on our southern border - and I would say the likes of which this country certainly has never seen that kind of strength", Trump said.

"Most national emergencies that have been declared in an area of public health. have been focused on a specific area, a time-limited problem, an infectious disease or a specific threat", he said, citing the outbreak of the Zika virus and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Price said the government has no position on these suits, but he noted the "lawsuits punctuate the damage and harm that people have felt because of this crisis".

"The average sentence for a convicted federal drug offender decreased 20 percent from 2009 to 2016", he added, noting he "promised to fight this battle during his campaign".

Christie's office declined to comment.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that the now "on the losing side" of the crisis.



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