A blackboard is covered with opioid topics

01 Sep Trump Declares a National Emergency from the Opioid Epidemic

On August 10th, 2017, President Trump officially declared a national emergency because of the opioid epidemic that has rapidly grown over the past decade to ravage several states and leave a path of devastation. This is a major step in the right direction for recognizing the effects that addiction have had on our country, and taking steps to fight the rise of the addiction. However, while exposure and discussion are incredibly important things, it’s also important to look at the practical ways that this will help states improve the treatment of addicts, and how laws regarding substance abuse will be handled. Here is some information about what this specifically means…

Allows access to Disaster Relief Fund

First of all, the primary way that this benefits states in helping to combat addiction is by opening up certain federal funds to states for the explicit purpose of reducing opioid abuse, getting treatment to addicts, saving people from overdoses, and other things. This is because it enables states to designate certain areas with high rates of opioid abuse as disaster zones, which means that there is access to the Disaster Relief Fund to fight addiction in those areas. This is a huge step forward for funding that is needed to reduce the spread of addiction and save lives.

Waivers for federal programs

The other major benefit that the declaration of a national emergency has is that it allows states to waive certain rules, temporarily, for federal programs. An example of this would be for Medicaid, which states that residential addiction treatment facilities with 16 or more beds are ineligible for reimbursement programs. However, states would be able to waive those specific rules and open up reimbursement funding to those rehab centers because of the national emergency declaration.

Effects of emergency are dependent on legislation

While the two reasons above are very good reasons to be excited about this declaration, it is also important to note that several major effects of this declaration are entirely dependent on the legislation that is going to follow. Based on what happens next, this declaration could end up being a bit of a double-edged sword. If the upcoming legislation involves using scientifically approved methods to reduce the effects that addiction has on people’s lives and using proven overdose-preventing medication, among other preventative measures, then it will be an overwhelming positive thing.

However, policies could also be implemented that could once again ramp up the War on Drugs. Due to the fact that these policies were in place during the past couple decades that saw major increases in substance abuse and addiction, this would probably be a step backwards.

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