President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday. What effect this will have on law enforcement struggling with the opioid problem is unclear, as the president stopped short of a national emergency declaration that would have freed up more federal money.
Republican lawmakers called the president’s declaration an important step in combating the crisis, Reuters reports.
Under Thursday’s declaration, treatment would be made more accessible for abusers of prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl, while ensuring fewer delays in staffing the Department of Health and Human Services to help states grapple with the crisis.
Trump said he would discuss stopping the flow of fentanyl, a drug 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Asia next month.
In his remarks, Trump said the U.S. Postal Service and Department of Homeland Security were “strengthening the inspection of packages coming into our country to hold back the flood of cheap and deadly fentanyl, a synthetic opioid manufactured in China.”