President Donald Trump pledged Wednesday to fight the deadly epidemic of opioid drug abuse "until our job is done," and he claimed progress, though it's not clear whether the crisis has subsided.
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Trump speaking at an annual conference of health, law enforcement, elected and other officials They are working to combat drug abuse and addiction and use the outside to defend the wall that he has on the US-US border and wants to build Mexico. They say without proof that they will help keep drugs out of the US. His wife Melania introduced him.
"My government is using every resource we have available to empower, support and fight alongside you," said Trump. "We will not solve this epidemic overnight, but we'll stop, there's just nothing that can stop us, no matter how you do it."
Before Trump left the White House to attend the event in Atlanta, Trump demanded recognition for progress in the fight against drugs.
"It's a big problem, it's a big addiction and we treat it," the president told reporters. He said that doctors, laboratories, clinics and pharmaceutical companies supported the administration.
There were signs of progress, including a decline in the number of prescriptions for opioid analgesics. However, opioid abuse claimed a record of nearly 48,000 American deaths in 201
While prescription opioids initially had the largest share of deaths, the epidemic is now driven by illegal heroin and fentanyl. According to federal data, these two drugs were involved in the vast majority of opioid overdoses reported in 2017.
Keith Humphreys, an adviser to drug policy for presidents of both parties, said some states and municipalities made progress, but not because of Trump's action. Humphreys said other states have withdrawn.
Humphreys said Trump's declaration of opioid addiction as a public health emergency in 2017 did not result in any significant concrete action. Members of Congress, he said, "have found out that they have to do it themselves – and they have done it."
Trump said the government has provided $ 6 billion to fight the crisis and provided money to prevent the abuse of juvenile drugs. and increased the prevalence of the overdose drug naloxone.
"Pretty amazing stuff," noted the president.
Efforts to curb opioid use are being undertaken by a number of government agencies. Trump said states can now use Medicaid dollars to pay for residential treatment facilities and expand access to care. He said the Department of Veterans Affairs had greatly reduced the number of veterans treated with opioids.
Trump also discussed law enforcement efforts, including hiring online networks for criminal drug trafficking and more aggressive efforts to confiscate illegal drugs and stop immigrants from entering the country without permission.
He said that by the end of 2020, there will be an almost 400-mile barrier on the Mexican border that will "have a significant impact on the drugs coming into our country" (19659005).] Trump's statement contradicts a US report – American Drug Enforcement Administration of 2018, which cites common drug trafficking methods that would not be stalled by a border wall; The most common technique of trafficking in human beings is to hide the drugs in passenger cars or semitrailer tractors when they enter the US at official intersections.
The First Lady spoke briefly about her visits to hospitals and treatment centers, and her meetings with doctors and nurses as part of her own campaign to highlight the "terrible toll that the opioid epidemic has on children and young mothers" (19659005) , "My husband is here today because he's very interested in what you are doing to help the millions of Americans affected by the opioid epidemic," she said.
It's difficult to get a complete and meaningful assessment of how much the federal government spends on fighting opioid abuse, as it's found in many programs, including Medicaid, which does not require annual funding. Congress approval and dozens of others Programs that do this. Public health experts say the amount is probably not enough.
The widespread opioid legislation that Trump signed last fall outlined many steps to improve care and access to treatment. For example, it allowed nurses to prescribe drugs for addiction treatment, incentives for people to train in addiction medicine, and Medicare to cover the use of methadone for opiate addiction.
Humphreys, who worked with lawmakers on the move, said the parties disagreed over the basic question of how much money they need to spend on the problem, and instead merged various small improvements that they could agree on ,
"And that's all good," said Humphreys. "But it's not transformative."
Superville reported from Washington. AP Health author Matthew Perrone in Washington contributed to the report.
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