The commission draft report said 142 Americans die from drug overdoses every day -- a toll "equal to September 11th every three weeks."
“Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life” per the commission report.
Despite this, President Trump stressed border protection and increased law enforcement to combat the epidemic. He also stressed abstinence: “If they do start, it’s awfully tough to get off, so if we can keep them from going on and maybe by talking to youth and telling them: No good, really bad for you in every way, but if they don’t start, it will never be a problem.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said that "We believe at this point that the resources that we need or focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crisis can be addressed without the declaration of emergency."
Keith Humphreys, an addiction specialist at Stanford University said that “Everything a public health emergency declaration would allow Trump to do he could have done already in the past 8 months simply by working with Congress on the required legislation. But he didn't do that, indeed he worked to cut the very public health resources an emergency declaration would allow him to expand.”
There are many things that can be done to address this problem, but it will require putting aside uncompromising political ideology and replacing it with common sense and collaborations. The first step should be to recognize that this is truly a national emergency. Putting people in prison and telling young people to " just say no" are just a rehash of programs that didn't work in the past and won't work today.
The opioid commission was bipartisan and step in the right direction and the President should not ignore it's recommendations. To do so would imply that it was formed as nothing more than a political feel good tactic. In the meantime, another 142 Americans will die today.
The commission report stated that the emergency declaration " ..would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.”