Student Well-Being

Trump Urged to Declare State of Emergency Over Opioid Crisis

By Evie Blad — July 31, 2017 1 min read
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A White House Panel urged President Donald Trump to declare a national state of emergency over the opioid epidemic.

The White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said in an interim report that it also plans to “explore evidence-based prevention programs for schools” and other issues related to children before it issues its final recommendations later in the fall.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the most recent data estimates that 142 Americans die every day from a drug overdose,” said the interim report. “Our citizens are dying. We must act boldly to stop it. The opioid epidemic we are facing is unparalleled. The average American would likely be shocked to know that drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined.”

As Education Week has reported, the overdoses and addiction-related deaths have had an effect on schools, particularly in states and communities with high levels of opioid use.

Earlier this year, Education Week produced a piece for the PBS Newshour about how schools are helping students whose families have been torn apart by addiction.

And private organizations like the Clinton Foundation are working to make Nalaxone, a drug to treat opioid overdoses, available in all U.S. high schools.

The commission plans to explore issues of youth opioid use, the report says. That includes: “Evidence-based prevention programs for schools, and tools for teachers and parents to enhance youth knowledge of the dangers of drug use, as well as early intervention strategies for children with environmental and individual risk factors (trauma, foster care, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and developmental disorders).”

The commission urged Trump to declare an emergency under the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.:

With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks. After September 11th, our President and our nation banded together to use every tool at our disposal to prevent any further American deaths. Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life. It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will. You, Mr. President, are the only person who can bring this type of intensity to the emergency and we believe you have the will to do so and to do so immediately.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.