President Donald Trump on Thursday declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency, but said the current generation can end the crisis.
“This epidemic is a national health emergency,” Trump said during a news conference in the East Room of the White House. “Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which launched an Rx awareness campaign last month to combat the epidemic, opioids — including prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl — killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record.
Approximately $4.7 million has been awarded for a program expansion as of September, according to the CDC.
The awarded states as well as the District of Columbia will use the funding to directly support medical examiners and coroners in efforts that include comprehensive toxicology testing.
Both the states and D.C. will also use the funding to enhance surveillance activities, including linking data sources and improving timeliness of nonfatal and fatal overdose data.