WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday stopped short of declaring the opioid epidemic a national emergency, rejecting an urgent recommendation from a White House panel on tackling the crisis.
“We believe at this point that the resources we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crisis, at this point, can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said at a press conference in Bedminster, N.J., after a meeting with President Trump and other White House officials.
He added that the option, like the rest of the policies suggested in the commission’s report, was still “on the table.”
During the peak of the AIDS epidemic there were 303,000 deaths between 1981 and 1997. Instead if declaring a national public health emergency successive administrations and congresses approved targeted funding for many different types of initiatives in HIV awareness, education, prevention and treatment. These initiatives, together with massive drug development programs have greatly reduced the incidence, morbidity and mortality from HIV/AIDs. Perhaps these targeted funding initiatives, instead of the tsunami of federal money that would follow the declaration of a public emergency should be tried first.
Sadly the interim report doesn’t support — or even mention — supportive living arrangements like Oxford House and structured sober living homes or recovery residences. These are critical for people to achieve long-term sobriety. Couple this with efforts by Congressman Darryl Issa (R-CA) to amend the Fair Housing Act to allow now illegal local zoning restrictions on sober homes, it’s pretty clear that the GOP is indeed, the POM, the Party of Misery, more interested in punishment than accomplishment.
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