President Persimmon may have actually gotten something correct this morning when he declared the opioid crisis a "public health emergency." This is the first time a nationwide public health emergency of this size has been implemented since 2009, when the government responded to the H1N1 influenza virus. Remember that, when we were all dying from the flu instead of overdosing on opioids? Thanks, Obama!
At any rate, it's about fucking time, as the opioid crisis today is killing more than a hundred people a day. And declaring an emergency frees the Feds to waive some regulations, gives flexibility to states in using federal funds, and expands the use of telemedicine treatment.
The Washington Post reports that Trump did reject a recommendation of the Opioid Crisis Commission by refusing to declare a broader national state of emergency, which would have allowed states to access funds from the federal Disaster Relief Fund—as they would with any other natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado. (Sadly, throwing rolls of paper towels at those addicted to opiates does not seem to be a solid treatment plan.)
The tiny-fingered vulgarian will sign a presidential memo that orders the Department of Health and Human Services to "declare a nationwide public health emergency and direct all federal agencies to use any emergency authorities that they have to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths." The Post goes on to list other things this action authorizes, including:
* Or about what is spent in eight hours on a Secret Service detail to watch Trump golf.
• Patients in isolated areas like Appalachia will have greater access to opioid treatment through telemedicine and receive prescriptions without seeing a doctor in person, as is generally required under current law.
• The Department of Health and Human Services will speed up its hiring process so they have people in place to help states in crisis.
• The federal government will allow states to temporarily shift the use of federal grant funds to target those with opioid addictions.
• The Department of Labor will make Dislocated Worker Grants available to those with opioid addictions and others who were dislocated by this health crisis or who have had trouble finding work because of their addiction.
• The government will spend money from the Public Health Emergency Fund, although it only has $57,000 in it*.
Missing from the discussion, of course, is the role cannabis plays in reducing opioid dependence. Studies have shown states that provide its citizens with access to medical/adult-use recreational cannabis have a reduction in opioid addiction. But this idea is absent from the Orange Julius' declaration this morning, because as racist human dumpster fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions has noted, "Good people don't use marijuana."
Baby steps, people....