New York, NY – President Donald Trump announced on Twitter he plans to hold a “major briefing” on the opioid crisis today at 3 p.m. ET in New Jersey. This discussion will likely cover new, major initiatives stemming from a presidential commission on opioid abuse — up to and including a declaration of a national “state of emergency.” Tom Price, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is scheduled to join him.
The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction recommended late last month that Trump declare a national state of emergency, which would increase the funding and resources available to solve the problem. The panel also supported expanded access to treatment and additional protections for people who report an overdose to law enforcement. Its recommendations veered from the “tough-on-crime” approach and rhetoric favored by the Administration so far, which the Brennan Center has analyzed in Sen. Jeff Sessions’ Record on Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice in President Trump’s First 100 Days.
“We’re hopeful that today’s meeting will tackle addiction as a public health crisis rather than an opportunity to expand the war on drugs,” said Ames Grawert, counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program. “It’s the approach we should have taken years ago, instead of turning toward jails and prisons. Focusing on treatment gives individuals the help that they need to get better, and keeps from having to deal with the consequences of the criminal justice system for the rest of their lives.”
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