President Trump will declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday, USA Today reports. The order waives regulations and gives states more flexibility in how they use federal funds to combat the crisis.
Under a public health emergency, states could temporarily shift federal grant funds from a wide range of public health issues—such as HIV, diabetes and maternal care—to fund opioid treatment programs. A public health emergency is not as sweeping as a national emergency, which would give the president even more power to waive privacy laws and Medicaid regulations, the article notes.
In August, Trump promised to declare a national emergency to combat the opioid crisis, and repeated that pledge last week. The president’s opioid commission recommended that he declare a national emergency in July.
A public health emergency can only last for 90 days, but can be renewed.
Heroin, Fentanyl & Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action
Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Deaths from heroin increased 328% between 2010 and 2015, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now seeing a sharp rise as well. More Americans die from drug overdoses than in car crashes, and this increasing trend is driven by Rx painkillers.