BRIDGEWATER, NJ (CBSMiami) – During his campaign, President Donald Trump promised to help solve the opioid epidemic.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump was briefed on the crisis by Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price. The President’s budget asks for $10.7-billion for drug treatment, a $200-million increase, but it would cut $167-million from abuse prevention.
A report from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, chair of the President’s opioid commission, says that from 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died of drug overdoses – opioids account for the majority of those deaths.
“We have a 9/11 scale loss of life every three weeks,” said Christie.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced the creation of the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit that will use data analytics to find doctors who are over-prescribing opioids for profit.
“We are coming after you. We are going to reverse these trends using every lawful tool we have,” said Sessions last week in announcing the task force.
The administration has also said opioids are a top reason it’s focused so much attention on our borders.
The President’s opioid commission has asked Mr. Trump to declare a national health emergency. Mr. Trump has yet to respond.
According to a study from Generations United, it’s estimated that due in part to the opioid catastrophe, at least two and a half million children nationwide are being raised by a relative other than their parents.