United States Still Waiting for the Opioid Epidemic to be a ’State of Emergency’
A month ago, the U.S. government promised to declare the opioid epidemic a state of emergency in the United States, but has failed to do so as of yet. I totally understand that there have been major distractions between now and then, like the situation with North Korea and Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. I also get that given these natural disasters and foreign relations issues, the opiate epidemic isn’t the biggest priority at the moment and the President has other major duties to handle, and honestly, I don’t fault him for that. Now that the storm has passed (no pun intended), I think it’s time that we regroup and refocus back onto the opiate problem.
Declaring a state of emergency is a great idea because by doing so, it would open more access to drug rehab and make Narcan more widely available. It would also be able to lift some restrictions on Medicaid reimbursements from larger facilities while also forcing physicians to become more educated on opiate abuse and encouraged not to over-prescribe painkillers, knowing the devastation that could continue to occur if they do.
During Hurricane Irma and Harvey, I watched the news, mouth agape, and witnessed the sheer devastation these storms were causing. As I was sitting there, I wondered to myself what all the addicts on Methadone maintenance were doing, since the power was out and the streets were flooded through major parts of Texas and Florida. I’m sure most of them couldn’t get their daily doses and then what? Find heroin? Or pills?
Recently, a group of senators wrote Trump a letter, asking him why he hasn’t acted on making an official declaration.
“The President’s policy advisers are working through the details with all of the relevant components and agencies,” the spokesman said. “Right now these actions are undergoing a legal review,” said a Whitehouse Spokesperson.
This sounds like things are moving in the right direction; we just to get it done!
Trump said “We’re going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had." This is a wonderful promise and I really hope our government steps up and actually gets this done. By having more treatment centers available to take new patients and putting funds where they’re needed, we can really turn this thing around. Now that the country is slowly getting back to normal and we’re in the process of rebuilding after these storms and handling our relationship with other countries, let’s put our attention on the opiate crisis. Let’s keep addicts from dying. Let’s do this!