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Jacobs: President should declare opioid/heroin crisis a 'national state of emergency'

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Wed, Aug 9th 2017 05:50 pm
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, co-chair of the New York State Senate's Heroin and Opioid Task Force, announced Wednesday his objections to President Donald Trump's decision not to declare the country's heroin and opioid epidemic a "national emergency."
Soon after taking office, Trump created a national commission to make recommendations to combat the deadly opioid crisis. Recently, the commission issued its preliminary report and "the No. 1 recommendation of the commission was that the president declare a national emergency," Jacobs said.
On Tuesday, Trump announced his decision not to declare such a state of emergency.
"Currently, 142 Americans are dying every day due to overdoses, and two-thirds of those are due to heroin/opioids," Jacobs said. "That number of deaths is equivalent to a Sept. 11 tragedy every three weeks."
Since 1999, more than 560,000 Americans have died of overdoses, a death toll larger than the City of Atlanta.
The commission report states, "The first and most urgent recommendation ... (the president) declare a national state of emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act."
The commissions stated such a declaration would empower Trump's cabinet to take bold steps, using all the tools at its disposal to combat a drug epidemic Jacobs said is unparalleled in terms of lives lost. Additionally, he said a national state of emergency would help focus the U.S. Congress and citizens throughout the country on the severity of the crisis.
"If this is not a national crisis, I don't what is," Jacobs said.

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