White House Quiet On Opioid Emergency Declaration

WHITE HOUSE QUIET ON OPIOID EMERGENCY DECLARATION — One week after Trump told reporters he was “drafting up paperwork” to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, no such declaration has been made. Even members of the White House’s opioid commission are unclear on when or if the president will officially declare a national emergency — something the panel recommended as a way to quickly direct resources to respond to the drug crisis killing 142 Americans every day.

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a member of the commission, said in an interview that he has not been briefed on the status of the declaration. He said the commission is meeting with administration officials in September, including HHS Secretary Tom Price and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, among others, to discuss the strategy to combat drug abuse going forward.

“Clearly we’re going to need to put in place infrastructure to really manage a national emergency declaration, we can’t just be operating under the same old approach,” he said.

Kennedy said that the administration should request that Congress approve an emergency supplemental fund, similar to former President Barack Obama’s emergency Zika funding request. It’s unclear how much money would be requested, or if Congress would approve it.