President Donald Trump will declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, according to a senior administration official.
The declaration will allow government agencies to provide immediate assistance to communities struggling with opioid addiction.
The president is expected to speak candidly about addiction during his speech, a senior administration official explained in a call with reporters on Thursday and may share his own story of how addiction affected his family.
Trump’s brother Fred was an alcoholic and died at age 43.
“We value these lives, each and every life is of infinite worth and we can save these lives,” the official said.
A public health emergency lasts 90 days and can be renewed as long as it continues.
The declaration allows federal and state government officials to make temporary appointments of addiction experts to help respond to the crisis. It also allows federal officials to shift funds within current HIV programs to provide addiction treatment. It also allows the Department of Labor to provide job programs to the unemployed, recognizing the impact of unemployment has on drug addiction.
The president will deliver a major address on the crisis on Thursday to bring more national attention to the crisis.