WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The President declares a country-wide health emergency as hundreds die each day from drug overdoses. While the diagnosis is well-accepted, the president’s prescription has its critics.
“Personally, I’m grateful, I think it’s a huge, huge start,” said Rebecca Crowder.
The West Virginian spent Thursday at the White House, as the President declared opiate-addiction a national health emergency. Crowder spends most days with babies born dependent upon drugs like heroin or powerful painkillers.
Crowder and other medical professionals invited to the press conference say they don’t know exactly when or how the benefits of the declaration will be seen. “We’re not going to see immediate results,” she said, “but because of all this, we’re going to see long-term results.”
The Trump administration estimates 64,000 Americans died from opiate-related overdoses last year. The president praised efforts to crack down on traditional drug dealers – peddling heroin and even more powerful concoctions.
But, he also took aim at doctors for overprescribing powerful pain pills, the companies that made and marketed them, and bureaucratic rules that keep addicts from care. “I look at this as a non-partisan issue starving for bi-partisan solutions and support,” said spokesperson Kellyanne Conway.
Critics outside the white house sajd the president continues to offer words not substance.
“We want to see the leadership out of the White House to get behind the types of resources that we need to respond,” said Rep. Ann Kuster.
The New Hampshire Democrat called the move a good first step. She chose her words diplomatically even though the President previously called her state a ‘drug-infested den’.
The country’s longest serving Senator, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), put his criticism more bluntly. “There is no action or new funding behind the President’s empty words to address this crisis,” he wrote in a statement, “this is unacceptable.”
Fellow Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) said tackling addiction may require more cash. But, he said Congress, not the president, should take the lead. “It’s up to us to put the money to it by the end of the year,” he said as he left the White House.
The subject is guaranteed to come up in the coming weeks as Congress continues to try to hammer out the federal budget.