The Trump administration this week will make its official declaration of the opioid crisis as a national public health emergency, and President Trump will speak Thursday on combating the epidemic, reports Axios.com. The president will sign an executive order directing cabinet agencies to take actions addressing the crisis. It will be an administration-wide effort that includes Melania Trump, who last month held a White House roundtable on opioid abuse.
The administration is working on a massive advertising and public-relations campaign. Congress will be involved because there will be requests for funds. The administration response has been questioned on Capitol Hill. The New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot writes in this week’s issue that Trump’s moves are “a welcome, but belated, response to a problem that has been growing inexorably for nearly two decades. For all the coverage the opioid epidemic has received, the reaction to it has been consistently muted. No group of activists quite as angry and eloquent as ACT UP has emerged to make the crisis an urgent priority.” Opioids kill more than 50,000 Americans a year, 10,000 more than AIDS did at the peak of that epidemic. Something about the nature of this epidemic delayed the sense of calamity,” Talbot says. “As the coroner of Montgomery County, Ohio, has said, it’s a ‘mass-casualty event,’ but one played out in slow motion.”