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What They’re Saying: Trump’s Opioid Emergency Declaration

by Countable | 11.16.17

On Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.

Surrounded by the families of Americans touched by the epidemic, Trump said:

"We cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic."

While many welcomed the president bringing focus to the problem, others questioned what the declaration would accomplish, as Trump declined to declare a broader national emergency and didn’t ask Congress to fund any expansion in treatment or insurance coverage for those struggling with addiction.

Here’s what they’re saying about Trump’s opioid emergency declaration:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), tweeted:

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) was one of five state governors who joined Trump at the White House for the announcement. Opioid-related deaths in Alaska have quadrupled in the past six years, and earlier this year, Walker issued a disaster declaration in response to the state’s opioid epidemic.

In a statement, Walker said:

"I welcome this announcement by President Trump and thank his administration for taking this important action. The opioid and heroin epidemic has destroyed too many lives, and torn apart families and communities…Building a Safer Alaska is one of my top priorities."

Walker also tweeted his support:

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) echoed the governor’s statement in a series of tweets:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted that POTUS "will help our country take another step forward in combating the #opioidepidemic by recognizing it as the emergency it is." But he followed up with a tweet saying that:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) summarized the criticism of Trump’s declaration with her tweet that "Words are not enough."

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) told NPR’s Here and & Now that she thinks "declaring an emergency is important, but it is not going to make much difference if we don't actually put resources towards this public health crisis… [I hope] the administration realizes there is not an easy fix to this. It is complex, and there's many different parts to it."

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan – whose state Trump once called a "drug-infested den" – was at the White House for the announcement. Following the declaration, Hassan tweeted:

Hassan followed up with a tweet of her full statement, which included "steps @POTUS can take immediately to put his words into action."

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about putting words into action. Questioned by a reporter on how much money the president would like Congress to devote to the problem, she responded:

"We do feel like that $45 billion would have been a good number," Sanders said, referring to the amount earmarked to fight opioid abuse in one of the “Obamacare” replacement bills.

What do you have to say?

Is Trump’s declaration "bold national leadership"? Or are “words not enough”? Does the president need to ask Congress for funds to combat the opioid epidemic? Hit Take Action, tell your reps, then tell us what you have to say below.

— Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: Moussa81 / iStockphoto)

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Written by Countable

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(126)
  • Shane
    10/27/2017
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    Declaration and action are two different things. We are too quick to claim anything here. People addicted need help and many can't afford it. There is overwhelming evidence that the pharmaceutical and medical industry's have created this emergency by purposely misleading the public. What will congress do to turn the Presidents words into actions?

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  • Christine
    10/27/2017
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    How inept. First trickle down economics Re: tax cuts, now “just say no” to opioids. Not one, but two FAILED Reagan policies. Please do something about this.

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  • Jennifer
    10/27/2017
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    When can we declare Trump’s presidency and administration a national crisis? Call me when you all wake the hell up. This is not to diminish the opioid crisis in any way. But we have to address current lobbyist and corporate involvement and payoffs to our elected representatives to actually address this issue. It’s not in any official’s monetary interest to end the opioid issues in this country. The folks lining their pockets profit greatly from manufacturing, distributing, and paying doctors to prescribe them. There’s your issue. Let that sink in.

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  • Matt
    10/27/2017
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    A declaration like this without action to back it up is simply irresponsible at the level of leadership that is expected to actually get something done. A state of emergency includes paperwork, signature(s), and money. You're 0-3 Mr. Drumph.

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  • Adrianne
    10/27/2017
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    The crack and cocaine epidemic was a crisis. But I guess the color of this crisis is what matters.

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  • Joane
    10/27/2017
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    Having been in public education for 38 years, the last 16 of which were as a high school principal, I have heard enough declarations and been given enough mandates that were not followed up by funds to carry them out to last three lifetimes! And how naive is this president to think that for the last 38 + years we have not been telling our youth that illegal drugs are “bad.” I don’t know of any high school health curriculum that does not emphasize this. And he thinks just by, once again, “saying no” because they are “bad” this will cure the epidemic!? Show us the money for intensive counseling and drug rehabilitation! Without that, I am not at all impressed!

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  • C
    10/27/2017
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    Reign in big Pharma and unscrupulous docs on this one. How about putting some money where your mouth is

    Like (21)
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  • Happyinvegas
    10/27/2017
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    So Trump signing this declaration does what exactly? This type of action is all that he has done his whole Presidency. Sign declarations, revert regulations, annul Obama’s executive actions, signs his own executive actions and TWEETS (most importantly).

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  • Judith
    10/27/2017
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    We need resources to combat the opioid problem in our country. Unless funds are provided to put President Trump’s words into action, that is all they are. Words.

    Like (11)
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  • Eric
    10/27/2017
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    $45 billion was offered to cover opioids for 10 years. Harvard economists calculate the amount needed was closer to $185 billion. The $45 was offered as basically a bribe to get two votes from republicans that said they would vote no. They knew how bad the bill was and still voted no.

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  • Jeanne
    10/28/2017
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    Words only! A national emergency gives access to billions of dollars. Trump’s declaration gives access to $57,000.00 and that’s all.

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  • Frank
    10/27/2017
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    I was in D.A.R.E once. It didn’t work.

    Like (7)
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  • Donald
    10/27/2017
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    Hmmm... The gun violence epidemic was declared by the health profession and the government has done very little to prevent the epidemic... So don’t count on anything meaningful coming out of this...

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  • Sam
    10/27/2017
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    Trump should declare himself a public health emergency for all the things he’s doing to undermine our country’s mental and physical health.

    Like (6)
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  • AngelaWood
    10/28/2017
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    In relation to the POTUS stating that the opioid epidemic is a crisis, I have first hand knowledge of what it's like to be addicted to opiates. I had 2 major neck surgeries and have 4 herniated disks in my back. I was put on opiates 7 yrs ago to control my pain. I've been on morphine, OxyContin, Lortab, Norco, Percocet and Roxycodone. Last October I got sick of the way I was looked at by the nurses when visiting my pain management doctor. They looked at me like I was a drug seeker and were rude as hell. So, I checked myself into a medical detox center where I was safely weened off the opiates. I found that marijuana and CBD oil controls my pain much better. While I was on the opiates I never took more than prescribed and some days took less. This drug is addictive and the withdrawals are pure hell. I know a lot of people need to be on opiates bc it's the only drug besides perfectly safe marijuana that has never hurt anyone. Please consider legalizing medical marijuana at the federal level. If alcohol and cigarettes are going to remain legal even though they both kill thousands of people yearly then marijuana should be made legal. It would not only put a huge dent in the opiate epidemic but would also decrease crime, lessen the population within our overcrowded prisons and jails but would also provide revenue for education, homelessness and programs for the poor.

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  • Jake
    10/28/2017
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    If there is an opioid crisis, there must be an alcohol apocalypse! To each his or her own.

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  • Pamela
    10/27/2017
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    45’s declaration of a national emergency on opioids was a great big DUH. “Yeah we have a big problem but we’re just going to announce it, not actually do anything about it.” Please get him out of office now!

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  • RadicalModerate
    10/27/2017
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    Colorado taxes profited. PROFITED. $6.3 BILLION in 2016. And had less drug overdoses. Given this knowledge, and the lack of action by or reps to legalize cannabis, its obvious that there at least corrupted by the opiate industry, but probably treasonous in there depth of complacency.

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  • Russell
    10/27/2017
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    There was 45 billion dollars in funding for the opioid crisis in the healthcare bill that not a single Democrat voted for, so clearly they don't care about helping ndrig addicts. They only care about resisting Trump. If Nancy Pelosi wants to save lives she can help pass Trump's healthcare plan.

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  • Gary
    10/28/2017
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    I know: let’s call it the war on drugs! It will be huuuuuge! It’s worked so well before, at wasting money.

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