Trump to issue emergency declaration on opioids next week

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A syringe filled with narcotic, an empty one, and a spoon sit on the roof of a car where a man in his 20's overdosed on opioids in Lynn, Massachusetts. (Reuters)

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would declare a national emergency next week on opioid abuse, a move that could give states access to federal funds to fight the drug crisis.

“The opioid is a tremendous emergency,” Trump told Fox Business network. “Next week, I‘m going to (be) declaring an emergency, (a) national emergency on drugs.”

The United States is battling a growing opioid abuse epidemic that claimed more than 33,000 lives in 2015, more than any year on record, according to federal data.

Opioids, primarily prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl — a drug 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine — are fueling the drug overdoses.

The declaration by Trump could help unlock more support and resources to address the drug overdose epidemic, such as additional funding and expanded access to various forms of treatment, and it gives the government more flexibility in waiving rules and restrictions to expedite action.

Trump said in August that he would declare opioid abuse a national emergency, but has not yet done so.