That’s positive news to Dr. William Mercer, Ohio County health officer and interim health officer in Marshall County.
“He’s shedding more light on it. His acknowledging (the crisis), that is a positive,” Mercer said of the president’s talk on Thursday on the opioid crisis.
Mercer said the upcoming declaration could help with the battle against opioids, but cautioned the effort will need money to accomplish. He said, “If this statement gets more money, that’s good.”
Discussing the crisis, Mercer said, “Definitely we have been hit hard here. Getting people into treatment, the correct treatment, has been a barrier.
“There needs to be more research. How do we treat it? We need better research … and we need research for better treatment for non-cancerous chronic pain.”
More money also is needed for prevention, such as efforts offered by the Impact Coalition in Ohio County, he said.
In New Jersey Thursday, the president declared the opioid crisis the nation’s biggest health issue.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency. And I am saying officially right now: It is an emergency, 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,” Trump told reporters during a brief question-and-answer session ahead of a security briefing at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J.
He said he’d be drawing up documents to formalize the declaration soon.
A drug commission convened by Trump and led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently called on the president to declare a national emergency to help deal with the growing crisis. An initial report from the commission noted that the approximately 142 deaths each day from drug overdoses mean the death toll is “equal to Sept. 11th every three weeks.”
Trump received a briefing on the report earlier this week during his working vacation.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price seemed to suggest after that briefing that the president was leaning against the recommendation, arguing that the administration could deploy the necessary resources and attention to deal with the crisis without declaring a national emergency.
Still, Price stressed that “all things” were “on the table for the president.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions commended Trump for “taking this drastic and necessary measure to confront an opioid crisis that is devastating communities around the country and ripping families apart.”
Christie applauded Trump’s decision in a statement, saying the president “deserves great credit.”
“As I have said before, I am completely confident that the President will address this problem aggressively and do all he can to alleviate the suffering and loss of scores of families in every corner of our country,” he said.
Trump said Thursday that the nation’s addiction to opioids is “a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had.”