Trump says he'll declare the US opioid crisis a national emergency 'next

  17 October 2017    Read: 497
Trump says he'll declare the US opioid crisis a national emergency 'next

Donald Trump on Monday teased a long-awaited announcement on tackling the crisis of opioid addiction. He also suggested his choice to lead to lead the National Office of Drug Control Policy might be under review.

More than two months after Trump said at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club “the opioid crisis is an emergency”, the president said he would probably formally declare it a national emergency with an event next week.

Speaking in a Rose Garden press conference with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Trump said: “We’re going to have a major announcement, probably next week, on the drug crisis and on the opioid massive problem.”

He added: “This country and, frankly, the world has a drug problem … and we’re going to something about it.”

Drug overdoses due to opioid use increased 21% in 2016; 64,070 Americans died as a result of opioid use in the last year. On the campaign trail, Trump talked about combating opioid addiction. He has touted his border wall between the US and Mexico as one way of combating it.

Trump also weighed in the subject of the Pennsylvania congressman Tom Marino, his pick for a position informally known as “drug czar”.

Marino was the subject of a joint report by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes on Sunday about his role as the sponsor of a bill that critics say undermined federal enforcement efforts against the opioid epidemic. The bill made it far more difficult for the DEA to crack down on drug companies that made suspicious shipments of opioids.

Although he called Marino “a good guy” on Monday, he added: “I did see the report. We’re going to look into the report. We’re going to take it very seriously.”

The president left open the possibility of withdrawing Marino’s nomination. Trump said he planned to speak to Marino soon.

He said: “If I think it’s 1% negative to doing what we want to do, I will make a change.”

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat in a state ravaged by opioid addiction, has called on Trump to withdraw Marino’s nomination.

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