President Trump’s briefing on opioids comes amid national crisis
ABC News(BEDMINSTER, N.J.) — At his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Tuesday, President Donald Trump plans on meeting with his secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price for a briefing on the opioid crisis, which Trump called this morning in a tweet, “a major problem for our country.”
I will be holding a major briefing on the Opioid crisis, a major problem for our country, today at 3:00 P.M. in Bedminster, N.J.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2017
Nationally, the rate of opioid deaths is on the rise–every day 62 Americans die of an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). And in the Garden State, like many states across the country, has been hit particularly hard. A study released yesterday reports that the New Jersey’s opioid death rate is actually understated.
The University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy examined death certificates and found that nationally, opioid- and heroin-involved death rates are more than 20 percent greater than reported rates, and opioid death rates were “considerably understated in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, and Arizona.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie currently leads the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and has made combating the epidemic a priority during his last year in office.
In February, Christie passed one of the toughest new laws in the country to combat the opioid epidemic. The law reduces the supply for opioid drugs prescribed to patients from 30 days to 5 days.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday he said that the opioid epidemic is responsible for a “9/11-scale loss of life every three weeks.”
“If that’s not a national health emergency, I don’t know what is,” said Christie.
The White House has not given details about the meeting, but it comes a week after the commission released their interim report and made a direct plea for the president to declare the epidemic a “national emergency.”
“Our citizens are dying,” said the report. “The opioid epidemic we are facing is unparalleled.”
Trump, who frequently talked about the drug epidemic during the campaign, has been criticized for remaining largely quiet about the crisis as president. Last week, in Huntington, West Virginia–the state with the highest rate of drug overdoses in the country–Trump only mentioned the epidemic once.
“You have a big problem in West Virginia, and we are going to solve that problem,” said Trump.
But Christie said he’s confident the White House will adopt the recommendations put forward by the commission.
“I’m convinced that the president is committed to this,” said Christie during a conference call with the commission. Their final report is scheduled to be released this fall.
The White House has not indicated if the president plans on making any announcements at today’s meeting in Bedminster.
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