And honestly, that’s probably a good thing.
According to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, the decision not to declare the crisis — which claimed lives in the neighborhood of 500,000 people between 2000 and 2015 — a public health emergency was due mostly to the fact that the resources and attention that accompany such a designation already exist.
“We believe that at this point, the resources that we need or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crises can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency,” Price said, “although all things are on the table for the president.”
He emphasized that he’s working with agencies across the Cabinet on a strategic prevention, treatment and recovery plan and that the president was briefed and fully on board. He said Trump “made certain that we understood he was absolutely committed to making certain that we turn this scourge in the right direction.”
Designating the opioid crisis a public health emergency makes it the government’s top priority and, considering the other news of the day, it’s probably best not to go that route. The practical reality is a funneling of resources into areas hardest hit and we may need to keep everything close to the vest until this mess with North Korea gets worked out one way or another.