US opioid crisis a ‘national emergency’, says Trump

President Trump has declared the opioid addiction crisis facing the US a “national emergency” after his advisers warned that more Americans die from drug overdoses than gun homicides and car crashes combined.

Trump’s declaration means that states and federal agencies could be offered more resources and power to combat the epidemic.

A report from the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis said nearly two-thirds of overdoses are linked to opioid drugs such as heroin, fentanyl and Purdue Pharma’s Oxycontin (oxycodone).

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 560,000 people have died due to drug overdoses, according to the report.

Speaking from his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump said: “The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I am saying, officially, right now, it is an emergency. 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.”

“We are going to draw it up, and we are going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had.”

Trump’s announcement seemed to contradict comments just two days previously from Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price.

He had said: “”We believe that at this point, the resources that we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crises can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency,” Price said, “although all things are on the table for the president.”

FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, who Trump appointed, has already made tackling the opioid crisis one of his main priorities after taking the post earlier this year.

Since Gottlieb took over pharma company Endo has said it will voluntarily withdraw its opioid painkiller Opana ER (oxymorphone) from the market after an FDA panel said the risks of addiction outweigh its pain-killing benefits. Shipments of Opana ER will end in September, the company has said.

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