On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that the opioid epidemic is a national public health emergency.
His declaration, which was the fulfillment of a promise he made during his campaign, will allow the federal government to address the issue more aggressively by waiving some regulations and giving states more flexibility.
The order will take effect for 90 days until Trump renews it again and puts added pressure on Congress to reallocate some money for the epidemic during its annual budget negotiations taking place now.
"As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue," he said in his speech that he gave from the East Room of the White House, according to CNN. "It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it."
Some have criticized the president, however, for not going far enough to stop opioid abuse, saying that while the president's statements were fine, more must be done to ensure the money is there to combat the issue.
"How can you say it's an emergency if we're not going to put a new nickel in it?" Dr. Joseph Parks, medical director of the National Council for Behavioral Health, said, according to ABC. "As far as moving the money around, that's like robbing Peter to pay Paul."
The Deseret News has written numerous articles in the past few months outlining the dangers of opioid abuse in Utah. Our most recent article, published on the same day of Trump's announcement, explored how Utah doctors and Big Pharma helped drive the opioid epidemic.
"The pharmaceutical industry used a Trojan horse approach," Anna Lembke, chief of addiction medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, told the Deseret News. "They convinced doctors that prescribing opioids for chronic pain was supported by evidence, when in fact there’s no evidence to support the use of opioids for chronic pain and growing evidence that it causes harm when used daily for more than three months."
Check out the political cartoons below about how the opioid crisis got to the point it did, and more.