The opioid commission of President Donald trump advised him that the issue should now be declared as a public emergency but he refused. The Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, said that the president assured, however, that the opioid crisis in the country will be treated as an emergency.

More than 142 Americans are dying daily due to drug overdoses. Trump told reporters on Tuesday at his private golf club that one way to stop the drug addiction and deaths due to a drug overdose is to “prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place.” He noted that the administration should talk to the youth and tell them that drugs are not good and are “really bad for you in every way,” The Washington Post shared.

Price defends Trump’s decision not to declare crisis as public health emergency

Price said that the decision of Trump not to declare the opioid crisis as a Public Health Emergency was because national emergency declarations are usually for time-limited problems such as the Zika virus or the problems that followed after the deadly 2012 Hurricane Sandy. Price also said that if a state of emergency is officially announced, it allows the government to quickly lift restrictions or waive rules so that local government units in the country do not have to wait for them to make their own decisions and actions regarding the matter.

Price pointed out that the Trump administration can still curb the increase of deaths due to drug overdose by not declaring the crisis as a public health emergency.

What experts, Republicans are saying

Republicans in the Congress wanted to cut Medicaid that helped those who sought drug treatment.

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They also wanted the president to reduce the funding for addiction treatment, research, and prevention efforts. The opioid commission also recommended an increase in the treatment capacity for those who need help for substance abuse. They also hoped all law enforcement agencies should have naloxone, which is an antidote used for those suffering from an overdose.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who heads the Trump opioid commission, said that the importance of the declaration was based on the fact that Americans are dying due to the crisis, CNN reported. Public health experts echoed the sentiments of Christie noting that the declaration would help in saving American lives.

Since the year 1999, Americans dying from drug overdose increased four times. From the year 2000 to 2015, 500,000 people died due to drug overdoses and opioid use is the main reason.