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Trump to declare opioids a public health emergency

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Local health officials commend President's approach to opioid crisis

Trump's actions have been anticipated since the summer, when an opioid commission Trump convened recommended he declare "a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act".

In an address at the White House, Trump said the growing epidemic spares "no part" of the country, promising his administration will spend "lots of money" to find non-addictive painkiller, Xinhua news agency reported.

"We are going to overcome addiction in America", the president said.

Trump said the federal government will "pretty soon" start suing "bad actors", including people and companies that are "hurting our people". Although the epidemic is increasingly being driven by heroin and the illicit use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, many people developed addictions after being prescribed opioids by their doctors for legitimate pain treatment - a fact that first lady Melania Trump highlighted as she told stories of people she had met has she has learned more about the epidemic.

While much of the country has been mired in an opioid crisis for the past several years, the problem has been particularly acute in ME, which has seen a high rate of consumption of prescription opioid painkillers. "The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I'm saying officially right now it is an emergency", Trump said at the time.

Under Trump's direction, the secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services will declare a 90-day national public health emergency, subject to regular renewal.

"The fact is, if we can teach young people - and people, generally - not to start, it's really, really easy not to take them".

Gregg Raduka, PhD, LPC, ICPS, the Director of Prevention/Intervention of the Council on Alcohol and Drugs in Atlanta, says, "I think it's extremely beneficial for the President to have done so especially because this draws media attention to the opioid epidemic".

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Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato said her agency will review the declaration's details "to see what it means for Ohio and "how it might complement what we believe is already one of the most aggressive and comprehensive approaches in the nation as we help our communities battle the scourge of drug addiction".

Republicans praised the efforts, while Democrats criticized the lack of funding. Edward J. Markey (D-MA).

Andrew Kolodny, codirector of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, said no emergency declaration would do much to alleviate the impact of opioids without a substantial commitment of federal money and a clear strategy for overhauling the way the country treats addiction.

She lauded the president's promise to crack down on drug dealers and to shut down the flow of fentanyl, a powerful narcotic blamed for many overdose deaths.

Meanwhile, Trump's opioid commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is set to release its final recommendations on November 1.

Some were disappointed he didn't use the Stafford Act mechanism to fight the problem because it would have made more money available.

The order falls short of what the president's own advisory panel called for, and what state health officials were hoping for to address the crisis.

On Wednesday, the president told Fox Business Network he would be declaring the crisis a national emergency, which would have opened up additional federal funds.

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