President Donald Trump announced that he planned to declare the national opioid crisis a “state of emergency,” allowing the release of federal funds to help combat the alarming rate of overdose deaths and addictions.
“I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency. It’s a national emergency,” Trump said on Thursday.
Trump announced his intentions during a press gaggle at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey after he was asked about the opioid crisis. He indicated that the administration was currently drawing up the paperwork to make it official.
“We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” Trump said.
He described the opioid epidemic as one that needed to be addressed.
“It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had … there’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years,” he said.
Trump’s decision follows the recommendation of his opioid task force led by Gov. Chris Christie.
“We hope that the President declares a public health emergency in this country,” Christie said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on August 1.
On Tuesday, Trump held a meeting about the crisis, vowing to work harder to enforce drug laws and prosecute drug criminals.
“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,” he said.