It’s the deadliest drug crisis in American history. It’s thirty times worse than the crack cocaine epidemic—and it’s killing an estimated 90 people a day. At this rate, 650,000 Americans are projected to die as a result of this addiction. At the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, there were multiple workshops on how state legislators can help craft legislation and solutions to deal with this crisis.
On Friday, President Trump declared the crisis a national emergency, which will give states access to the federal Disaster Relief Fund and temporarily place a moratorium on regulations to other programs. For example, large drug treatment centers (16 beds or more) are not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. They will under this designation (via Politico):
"I'm saying officially right now, it is an emergency. It is a national emergency," Trump said, according to a White House press pool report. "We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."
Trump was briefed on the epidemic Tuesday by HHS Secretary Tom Price, who told reporters at the time that the administration believed the crisis could be effectively addressed without the declaration of an emergency. Trump vowed his administration would beat the epidemic by beefing up law enforcement and strengthening security on the southern border to stop illegal drugs from entering the country.
Right now, there are some who think is solely an Rx problem concerning the over prescription of painkillers. Others think it’s an offshoot of the larger problem with heroin addiction. The butcher’s bill for this crisis has been steep; there were 50,000 deaths from overdoses last year. Of that number, 33,000 of them were from opioids. If left unchecked, 94,000 Americans a year could by dying by 2027.