On Thursday Oct. 26, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. In doing so, he directed Health Secretary Eric Hargan to declare a public health emergency under the Public Health Services Act. Under this designation, no additional federal funding will automatically be directed to combat the crisis, however, public health agencies will be directed to devote more grant money already in their budgets toward the problem. The order will last 90 days and can be renewed every 90 days.
“This epidemic is a national health emergency. Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now,” President Trump said in his speech in the East Room of the White House. “As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”
The president focused on the need for further enforcement and stemming the tide of illegal drugs entering the country. He stressed cracking down on Americans who are purchasing illegal drugs. He also suggested creating a national advertising campaign that would convince Americans to never do drugs to begin with.