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Opiod Crisis to be Declared a Public Health Emergency

Last week, White House officials along with the Department of Health and Human Services declared America’s opioid crisis a public health emergency. For many, this is a long-awaited first step in combating the nation’s epidemic of opioid-related overdoses. However, this directive does not allocate any extra funds to deal with the drug crisis. Instead, the announcement provides states with the ability to spend federal money in response to this crisis, and provides rural areas with accessible medical services.

In a country where 64,000 died last year from drug-related overdoses, this action has been a long time coming. This number is up more than 10,000 from 2015, where 52,000 died from overdoses. The escalation of this crisis is shocking, and there’s no doubt that swift action is needed to protect the citizens of our country.

If you or someone you know has been charged with an opioid-related crime, contact our experienced team at Pallegar Law, P.A. Speak with a skilled Tampa drug attorney who will fight for your rights and your freedom.

What Comes Next?

In a speech last week, Mr. Trump vowed that he would end America’s battle with drug use, abuse, and addiction. He stated that he would produce “really tough, really big, really great advertising” in order to combat drug use. He also spoke about educating young people about the dangers of drug use, stating “This was an idea that I had, where if we can teach young people not to take drugs… it’s really, really easy not to take them.” In addition to this educational plan, Mr. Trump described a policy that would require federally employed doctors and prescribers to be trained in safely prescribing opioids. He also described a plan to develop non-addictive painkillers as a replacement for addictive opioids and block shipments of synthetic opioids from entering the United States.

Critics of Mr. Trump’s announcement state that more urgent action is needed to combat the opioid crisis. Sen. Edward Markey, D-MA, spoke out after the announcement, saying, “President Trump offered the country a Band-Aid when we need a tourniquet.” Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy at Brandeis University, stated that emergency declarations cannot do much if they are not backed with substantial federal money and a clear strategy for treating the issue at hand. In an interview with the New York Times, Kolodny stated, “What we need is for the president to seek an appropriation from Congress, I believe in the billions, so that we can rapidly expand access for effective outpatient opioid addiction treatments.”

As of yet, Mr. Trump has neither clarified the terms of his proposal nor announced the roles of officials who will carry out the plan. It is certain that no plan can get very far without significant federal funding. However, some worry that framing the issue as a matter of choice- ‘don’t do drugs, kids’ – completely misses the mark. The issue is of national concern—an issue of public safety and health, and is far better categorized as a serious illness afflicting America. Only time will tell if Mr. Trump’s initiative is able to alleviate this illness, but one thing is for certain -- that Trump’s declaration will increase awareness about the urgency of the situation. Ideally, this will result in a cohesive and structured solution that can target the source of the problem.

Call Pallegar Law, P.A. If You Have Been Charged With a Drug Crime

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime relating to opioids or other drugs, contact an aggressive Tampa drug attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. Call 941-893-5816 for a free consultation.

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