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Trump Declares Opioid Crisis A National Emergency. So What Does That Mean?

President Donald Trump hasn't yet spelled out what the declaration will entail, but it could allow the government to negotiate lower prices for naloxone, open up additional funding to states and provide technical assistance and manpower to places where local and state resources have been overwhelmed. Some experts say it is a mostly symbolic move, though.

The Associated Press: Trump To Declare Opioid Crisis A 'National Emergency'
"The opioid crisis is an emergency. And I am saying officially right now: It is an emergency, it's 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," Trump told reporters during a brief question-and-answer session ahead of a security briefing Thursday at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Covin and Lemire, 8/10)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Declares Opioid Epidemic A National Emergency
Declaring an emergency under the Public Health Service Act, or the Stafford Act, 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,” [the national commission] said. The Stafford Act was designed to organize federal assistance to natural disasters. Jessica Nickel, president of the Addiction Policy Forum, who testified before the opioid commission, applauded the announcement. “This declaration can help communities with flexibility and resources to help implement a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic,” she said. (Radnofsky and Campo-Flores, 8/10)

Politico: Trump Says He Will Declare Opioid Crisis A ‘National Emergency’
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. (Ehley, 8/10)

Stat: Trump, Reversing Course, To Declare National Emergency Over Opioids
The declaration could help the government negotiate lower prices for naloxone, the overdose reversal medication, but many experts and advocates have said that it would likely be more of a symbolic step and public education tool. Under laws that outline national emergencies, the government can open up additional funding to states and provide technical assistance and manpower to places where local and state resources have been overwhelmed. But major initiatives to expand treatment options, promote more research, and boost funding would still require congressional action or initiatives from federal agencies. (Joseph, 8/10)

The Washington Post: Trump Says Opioid Crisis Is A National Emergency, Pledges More Money And Attention
Last week, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which is led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), issued a preliminary report that described the overdose death toll as “September 11th every three weeks” and urged the president to declare a national emergency. On Tuesday, Trump received an extended briefing on the subject in Bedminster. White House aides said Trump was still reviewing the report and was not yet ready to announce which of its recommendations he would embrace. (Achenbach, Wagner and Bernstein, 8/10)

Modern Healthcare: Declaring Opioid Crisis A National Emergency Opens Up Resources For Providers 
The declaration of emergency would exempt providers from complying with certain requirements that often prevent them from getting paid. For example, HHS could temporarily lift Medicaid rules that limit how long patients can receive mental health or substance use disorder treatment in residential facilities with more than 16 beds. Currently the program covers the costs for up to 15 days. "Waiving that requirement would allow many, many more facilities to be able to accept patients, and maybe reduce waiting lists and get people the kind of help that they need when they need it," said Tom Coderre, a senior adviser with the Altarum Institute and a former chief of staff and senior adviser to the Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration during the Obama administration. (Johnson, 8/10)

Nashville Tennessean: Tennesseans Praise President Donald Trump For Declaring Opioid Crisis A 'National Emergency'
From the governor and lawmakers to law enforcement and community health groups, Tennesseans across the state praised President Donald Trump's efforts to address the opioid crisis after Trump announced plans Thursday to declare a national emergency to address the issue. Trump said he is "drawing documents now" to officially label the crisis a national emergency. A formal declaration of a public health emergency would give the federal government additional powers to waive health regulations, pay for treatment programs and make overdose-reversing drugs more widely available. (Buie, Nelson and Fletcher, 8/10)

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