This undated handout photo obtained August 10, 2017 courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) shows 20 mg pills of OxyCotin. (AFP PHOTO/U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration/Handout)
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said his administration is drafting up paperwork to officially declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.
"The opioid crisis is an emergency and I'm saying officially right now it is an emergency," Trump told reporters outside his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jewsey, where he has been on a 17-day working vacation since Friday.
"We're going to draw it up and we're going to make it a national emergency... We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," he said.
"It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had...You know when I was growing up they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs. There's never been anything like what's happened to this country over the last four or five years," the president said.
Two days earlier, Trump vowed an intense effort on opioids after receiving a private briefing on the crisis. At the time, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the Trump administration could deploy the necessary resources and attention without declaring a national emergency, while noting that "all things" were "on the table for the president."
A formal declaration of a public health emergency, or a presidential emergency declaration, would give the administration additional powers to waive health regulations, pay for treatment programs, and make overdose-reversing drugs more widely available, local analysts say.
The U.S. has seen a significant uptick in deaths from opioids, with the rate of death from heroin and prescription painkillers quadrupling since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.