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Trump plans to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency

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Officials repeatedly said that they plan to roll out even more initiatives to address the crisis in the coming days and weeks. They laid out a handful things that will quickly happen by declaring the public health emergency:

  • 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; and the government will spend money from the Public Health Emergency Fund, although it only has $57,000 in it.

The officials said that the White House is working with Congress to find additional funding for this crisis — which experts say will cost tens of billions of dollars to properly address — but they declined to share any exact figures.

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