President Donald Trump said he’s drafting paperwork to declare the opioid crisis a “national emergency” just days after administration officials downplayed the need for such a declaration.
Trump made the announcement Thursday at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
“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.
On Thursday, he seemed to change his mind.
The emergency declaration, first recommended last week by the White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, enables the federal government to quickly free up funds to respond to the epidemic. It also allows Trump to say he’s fulfilling a promise to combat opioid misuse that he made as a presidential candidate.
Trump handily won states like West Virginia and Kentucky that have been hit hard by the epidemic.
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SOURCE: Politico, Brianna Ehley