President Donald Trump announced that he is working on legislation to upgrade the opioid epidemic to a national emergency, according to a Thursday White House pool report.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump said. “It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”
Trump made the announcement during an appearance outside his Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey, where he is staying while the White House undergoes renovations. Reporters asked Trump whether he would need emergency powers, to which he responded, “We’re going to draw it up, and we’re going to make it a national emergency.”
“It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had,” the president added. “You know when I was growing up they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs. There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years. And I have to say this in all fairness, this is a worldwide problem, not just a United States problem. This is happening worldwide. But this is a national emergency, and we are drawing documents now to so attest.”
Trump gave a very similar statement on Tuesday, saying that the government has no other alternative than to beat back the opioid crisis, which is causing thousands of fatal overdoses around the nation.
The president made the comments before meeting with top officials about the issue. A recent New York Times report estimated that in 2016 there were between 59,000 and 65,000 deaths due to drug overdoses. (RELATED: MSNBC Warns Opioid Abuse Kills 142 Americans Per Day)
“I have had the opportunity to hear from many on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, and I’m confident that by working with our healthcare and law enforcement experts we will fight this deadly epidemic and the United States will win,” Trump said Tuesday. “We’re also very, very tough on the southern border where much of this comes in, and we’re talking to China, where certain forms of man-made drug comes in and it is bad.”
Declaring a national emergency shows Trump’s concerns with the nationwide epidemic that has been killing hundreds of people daily.
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