President Trump announced Thursday he is officially declaring the opioid crisis a NATIONAL EMERGENCY.

“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now,” Trump said. “We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”

Trump, speaking after a security briefing at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., said his administration is preparing the paperwork for the declaration. Doing so was the most urgent recommendation in a letter sent last week to the president by his own opioid commission.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who leads the commission, thanked the president for his announcement Thursday, Fox News reports.

“I am completely confident that the President will address this problem aggressively and do all he can to alleviate the suffering and loss of scores of families in every corner of our country,” Christie said in a statement.

The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis claimed that executive action would make the epidemic a top priority and allow the Cabinet to take “bold steps” toward combating drug abuse. Such a step could enhance the administration’s ability to make grants and conduct investigations.

“If this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will,” the letter said.

“The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control,” the commission said in its report. “Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.”

Americans consume more opioids than residents of any other country, the commission said.

Citing a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report that said four out of every five new heroin users began with prescription opioid abuse, the commission described the nation’s health care system as the root of the crisis.

Our citizens are dying. We must act boldly to stop it. The opioid epidemic we are facing is unparalleled. The average American would likely be shocked to know that drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined.

In fact, between 1999 and 2015, more than 560,000 people in this country died due to drug overdoses – this is a death toll larger than the entire population of Atlanta.

As we have all seen, opioids are a prime contributor to our addiction and overdose crisis. In 2015, nearly two-thirds of drug overdoses were linked to opioids like Percocet, OxyContin, heroin, and fentanyl.

This is an epidemic that all Americans face because here is the grim reality: Americans consume more opioids than any other country in the world. In fact, in 2015, the amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.

Citing a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report that said four out of every five new heroin users began with prescription opioid abuse, the commission described the nation’s health care system as the root of the crisis.

The recommendations presented to the president included improved prescription tracking; increased treatment and education on substance use; and a call to ensure law enforcement always carry the counter-overdose drug naloxone.

Given the recent spike in overdoses, a study released last week by STATwarned that opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade if this issue is neglected. But according to Richard Baum, acting White House drug czar, the White House already is pursuing some of the recommendations to protect against abuse.

“Addressing the opioid epidemic is a top priority for the President and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,” Baum said in a statement. “The good news is that the Administration is already working on several of these recommendations, including improving our abilities to detect fentanyl, increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, and looking at ways to improve prescriber education. The President and I both appreciate the Commission’s hard work on this interim report and are eagerly awaiting the final report.”

The Trump administration is also taking action on other fronts.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week the formation of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. The pilot program will be implemented in 12 districts across the nation to focus on preventing opioid-related health care fraud and pill mill schemes.

God Bless.

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Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS

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