Opioid crisis: Here's Trump's plan to 'fight this deadly epidemic' and 'win'

WASHINGTON DC- AUGUST 2  U.S. President Donald Trump makes an announcement on the introduction of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act in the Roosevelt Room at the White House

Instead, the president on Tuesday met with health officials and members of his administration to receive an update on the crisis and briefly addressed reporters.

In his remarks Tuesday, Trump noted that the best way to prevent addiction and overdoses is to keep people away from drugs in the first place. The president reflected, for example, on preventing addiction by stopping the problem before it starts.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the administration was still working to devise "a comprehensive strategy" to be presented to Trump "in the near future". He also said that, "the administration can do the same sorts of things without declaring an emergency". An emergency declaration could free up federal resources for the effort.

Speaking to the media, Mr. Price said the commission's report was being "reviewed at all levels" and echoed some of its public health approach: providing resources for "prevention, treatment and recovery" and making the overdose-reversing drug Narcan more available. Price, briefing reporters at a hotel about 15 minutes away from Trump's golf course, said numerous report's recommendations for increased funding and attention can be accomplished without such a declaration, which is normally reserved for a natural disaster such as a hurricane or for a more focused public health problem such as an infectious disease outbreak.

"We need to see more help, we need to see more help from the government, the insurance companies, everyone needs to step up to the plate", she said.

Nationwide almost 35,000 people in America died of heroin or opioid overdoses in 2015 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In an interim report released last month, the commission said that such a declaration would allow the administration to take direct action and pressure Congress to provide more funding.

"In terms of saving lives, states are already all-in on this issue", said Michael Fraser, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers, which represents public health agencies and health professionals in the United States and its territories.

During a campaign rally last week in West Virginia, which had the nation's highest rate of deaths in 2015, Trump promised that "we are going to solve that problem". Earlier at the press briefing, Price said "the president believes that we will treat it as an emergency and it is an emergency".

Later, Price added: "Most national emergencies that have been declared in the area of public health emergency have been focused on a specific area, a time-limited problem - either an infectious disease or a specific threat to public health". "In fact, Trump's budget proposal and the Medicaid cuts he supported as part of the Republican health care repeal would both make this crisis even worse".

Speaking alongside Mr Price, White House senior counsellor Kellyanne Conway said the crisis can not be solved overnight, and that "most of the great work is being done at the state and local levels".

"Opioid overdose deaths have almost quadrupled since 1999, it is a problem the likes of which we have not seen", Trump said at a news conference. Everybody is threatened. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and opioid overdose deaths have almost quadrupled since 1999.

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