The White House’s Commission on Opioid, a panel that studies the opioid epidemic in the U.S., was created in March 2017 by Donald Trump who appointed Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to head it. Latest reports from the commission recommend that Mr. Trump declare a state of emergency on opioids in order to tackle its menace in America.

Opioid Commission’s Report About Deaths Caused by Opioids

In its interim report, the commission made reference to the fact that 142 American citizens die every day because of overdoses of opioids. It went on to say that every three weeks, America records a total number of deaths equal to the number obtained from reports on the September 11 attacks.

Studies have revealed that, since 1999, the number of Americans who die from drug overdoses has increased by four times. In fact, between the year 2000 and 2015, more than 500,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, with opioids causing a majority of deaths.

Opioid Commission’s Recommendations

In the commission’s report containing some recommendations, President Trump was asked to declare a state of emergency on opioids. Coupled with that, it proposed that a federal decree which minimizes the number of Medicaid recipients who can acquire addiction treatment in their houses — should be relinquished.

It also asked the government to make medications more accessible for the treatment of opioid addicts; and it requested that states create avenues for standing orders so that any person can obtain naloxone (which is a very important drug that has the ability to reverse overdoses of opioid).

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Other recommendations from the report suggests the following:

  • that treatment support be quickly extended to those who need help because they are suffering from the effects of abusing the substance.
  • that government create and fund easier ways for people to have access to treatment programs which can assist them in the way they take medication; and
  • that healthcare providers be fully aware of people’s susceptibility to abuse and misuse of opioid prescriptions.

The White House’s Response to Recommendations Made by the Commission

After receiving the report, the White House released a statement saying that it appreciates all efforts made by the commission – towards creating the report — which is an interim one. Furthermore, it stated that (with immediate effect) it will start reviewing the recommendations as it waits for the final report which is expected to be ready by October.

The Opinion of Health Experts on the Matter

Some experts in public health feel that the proposed declaration of emergency would make a lot of Americans more aware of the epidemic.

Although Michael Fraser (executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials) said that the report is an indirect call for all parties to find a way to address the issue, he doesn’t think a better level of coordination among federal agencies will make much difference.

Another expert, Dr. Tom Frieden (director for Disease Control and Prevention during Obama’s administration) said that the proposed declaration of a state of emergency on public health was typically associated with disasters like hurricanes.