Local substance abuse counselors hope for federal funding after Trump declaration

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President Trump announced Thursday he would declare a national emergency to address the heroin and opioid epidemic, a decision that drew praise from local officials.

The White House commission on the opioid crisis had recommended the measure in a draft report last week, saying an emergency declaration would allow the administration to take bold steps to address the issue and pressure Congress to offer more funding.

"It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had", Trump said at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, where he is on a "working vacation".

Rep. Marcy Kaptur D-Ohio, called the president's remarks "a good step", adding, "I will remind the President's team as they move forward, that Medicaid provides the bulk of addiction treatment and is a key partner in providing much-needed care to those in need. There's never been anything like what's happened to this country over the last 4 or 5 years".

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"There is no doubt that this heroin and prescription drug epidemic is a crisis affecting our entire country, and I applaud the president for his decision to declare it a national emergency".

An initial report from the commission noted the approximately 142 deaths each day from drug overdoses mean the death toll is "equal to September 11th every three weeks". He said federal drug prosecutions have dropped but promised he would "be bringing them up rapidly". "We've been asking the state of OH to do this for awhile, numerous governors throughout the United States have declared emergencies, so this is a good first step".

Two days earlier, Trump vowed an intense effort on opioids after receiving a private briefing on the crisis.

As a member of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees, Collins has participated in six subcommittee hearings discussing the government and states responses to the crisis, fentanyl, and professional and academic perspectives.

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"Medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder have proven to be both clinically and cost-effective, but are seriously underutilized despite epidemic growth in the number and severity of opioid-related deaths", the American Society of Addiction Medicine concluded in a 2014 review of opioid treatment studies.

But Daniel Raymond of the Harm Reduction Coalition, an advocacy group, said Trump's words "need to be accompanied by actions".

"I commend the president for declaring that the opioid crisis is a public health emergency", Buchanan said.

"First, it lets states and localities that are designated disaster zones to access money in the federal Disaster Relief Fund, just like they could if they had a tornado or hurricane", Humphreys said. "Trump's emergency declaration is likely going to amount to very little in the way of greater access to treatment and other help from the federal government".

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The Philadelphia Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency reported 4,642 people died of accidental drug overdoses in Pennsylvania in 2016 - a 37 percent increase.

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