By Ed Coghlan.
President Trump decided to say something about opioids this week after all, calling the nation’s opioid epidemic the “worst drug crisis in American history,” and declaring it a public health emergency.
The President as recently as Wednesday said his announcement would come next week—but when it came it fell short of many health advocated had urged and had no funding tied to it.
And, as has been the case for the past two years as the opioid story grew to hurricane proportions, there was no mention of chronic pain—for which millions of people use opioids as therapy-only discussion about addiction and substance abuse.
Trump earlier had said he would declare a more sweeping national state of emergency that would have given states access to funding from the federal Disaster Relief Fund, as they would after a tornado or hurricane.
Pain Advocates and physicians, we reached out to today had little comment because there was little detail in the President’s much ballyhooed and anticipated announcement.
Some of the details of the announcement include:
- Allow patients further access to “telemedicine” so they can receive prescriptions without seeing a doctor.
- Make grants available to those who have had trouble finding work due to addiction.
- The Department of Health and Human Services will hire more people to address the crisis, particularly in rural areas Allows states to shift federal funds from HIV treatments to opioids, since the two are linked as drug users often share infected needles.
The lack of emphasis on chronic pain and what advocates call “responsible users” of opioids was notable by its absence.
Meanwhile, speaking of no action, the implantation of the National Pain Strategy continues to dawdle, 18 months since it was adopted.