Trump Declares National Emergency Over Opioid Crisis

If made official, the declaration will mark the 29th currently active national emergency in America.

Source: Shealah Craighead via Wikimedia Commons

According to the most recent estimates available from the NIDA, more than 90 Americans die every day from opioid abuse– prescription painkillers, heroin, among other synthetic drugs including highly dangerous fentanyl and dilaudid.

Last Thursday, President Trump officially declared the opioid epidemic 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. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had,”  said President Trump in a statement.

According to the NIH, the opioid crisis took root during the 90’s, when drug salesmen convinced doctors that these drugs didn’t pose a high risk for abuse. Subsequently, emergency room reports involving the prescription painkiller hydrocodone (Vicodin) increased 500% between 1990 and 2002.

Source: Vox/IMS

In his statement, President Trump made no mention whatsoever to big pharma. A recent report published in the Guardian emphatically points at the pharmaceutical industry, writing “Facing a raft of lawsuits and a threat to their profits, pharmaceutical companies are pushing the line that the epidemic stems not from the wholesale prescribing of powerful painkillers – essentially heroin in pill form – but their misuse by some of those who then become addicted.”

However, the commission formed by the President to combat the opioid crisis — Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis — did reference big pharma in a statement: “We have an enormous problem that is often not beginning on street corners; it is starting in doctor’s offices and hospitals in every state in our nation.”

Currently, over two dozen national emergencies are considered “active” in the U.S. Nearly every emergency declaration made during the presidencies of George W. Bush (13) and Barack Obama (12) are still active.

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