President Trump said Thursday afternoon that he is declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency, implementing the top recommendation from a presidential commission that studied the growing epidemic.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” he told reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. “It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”
When asked what the emergency powers would entail, Trump declined to offer specifics. “We’re going to draw it up and we’re going to make it a national emergency,” he responded, before pivoting to the scale of the crisis. “There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years. And I have to say this in all fairness, this is a worldwide problem, not just a United States problem. This is happening worldwide. But this is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest.”
None dispute the scale of the epidemic. As my colleague Olga Khazan noted last month, the opioid crisis now kills more than 100 Americans daily. The growing toll led Trump to establish a presidential commission headed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to find solutions. The panel, which compared the loss of life to the September 11 terrorist attacks, urged Trump to formally designate it a national emergency to help mitigate the damage.