President Trump briefed on opioid crisis

On the same day the NCHS statistics were released, President Donald Trump said he would receive a "major briefing" on the opioid crisis with top administration officials Tuesday afternoon at his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

"I'm confident that by working with our healthcare and law enforcement experts, we'll fight this deadly epidemic and the United States will win", Trump said.

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 560,000 people in this country died from drug overdoses - mostly heroin and prescription opiates. The agency reported that the number of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. has also almost quadrupled since 1999, but that there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report. OH is suing five drug manufacturers and McKesson faces a lawsuit in West Virginia (though the company's CEO is still taking home a hefty bonus).

The commission cited government data showing that since 1999 US opioid overdoses have quadrupled, adding that almost two thirds of USA drug overdoses were linked to opioids such as heroin and the powerful painkillers Percocet, OxyContin and fentanyl. The survey showed that respondents still blame users ahead of doctors or pharmaceutical companies.

President Trump this afternoon acknowledged the epidemic of opioid abuse in the US, but took no action on a report by a commission he created to study the crisis. For every door that we close, they open a new door to death'.

"We're talking about what should be done and working through the department and through the other agencies to come forward with that coherent strategy, that comprehensive strategy and recommendation for the president, and will do so in short order", he said.

KEITH: What's interesting here is that in his remarks - and these were sort of off-the-cuff remarks before the briefing - he really put an emphasis on enforcement, on prosecutions.

"We are going to reverse these trends using every lawful tool we have", said Sessions last week in announcing the task force.

KEITH: Well, President Trump talked about what a big problem this is and that it's a priority for his administration.

Trump said he would be joined at the 3 p.m. ET meeting by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Richard Baum, according to published reports.

"We can not arrest our way out of this problem", he said.

Price said the administration, among other efforts, may seek to relax some medical privacy laws to allow for more family members to be notified of overdoses.

"The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place", Trump said.

The Republican governor listed a number of steps to counter the problem, including treatment, stopping drugs like fentanyl, an opioid pain medication, from getting into the country illegally, and increasing public awareness.

The White House says it is still reviewing the recommendations in the report.

Vanessa Coleman

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