The Opioid Epidemic Is Now a National Emergency

Oct 10, 2017

President Trump recently made some waves when he announced that the opioid epidemic and the public health issue of addiction amounted to national emergencies that needed to be considered so on a public scale. This generated a lot of excitement in the world of addiction recovery, as it would mean that resources could be allocated in ways that could actually change the course of addiction rates and allow addiction prevention programs to be set up on a large scale. Here is some information about the opioid national emergency and what it truly means for the future of fighting addiction…

The declaration hasn’t actually happened

First of all, it’s important to remember that, as of right now, there hasn’t actually been an official declaration that the opioid epidemic is a national emergency. In order to do this, the administration would need to formally invoke the Stafford Act or Public Health Service Act to declare a national emergency. Until this happens, no actual action is being taken that impacts addiction recovery in a meaningful way. This delay has left some wondering if the administration actually plans to address this problem in a meaningful way, or if it was just lip service paid to an important issue.

What a national emergency would change

A national emergency would mean different things, depending on whether the administration opted to use the Stafford Act or Public Health Service Act (PHSA). The Stafford Act opens up a pocket of funding and access to the country’s disaster recovery infrastructure, while the Public Health Service Act would enable the federal government to reassign staff and resources, but without opening up the funding that is reserved for natural disasters.

A PHSA declaration wouldn’t come with an immediate pool of money to use, but those funds could be moved from elsewhere. Either act would go a great deal of distance towards setting up the infrastructure that is needed to reduce the rates of addiction growth, and then lower the overall addiction rate to levels that are more manageable.