Report: Trump Administration Forgets To Renew Its Opioid Emergency Declaration
President Donald Trump ordered that America’s opioid crisis be declared a public health emergency in 2017 in order to direct more government resources to the epidemic, but that status was dropped last week after the Department of Health and Human Services neglected to renew the declaration, according to Politico.
HHS said the nine-day lapse was merely a clerical error and that the public health emergency designation had been restored.
Politico reported that the emergency status must be renewed every 90 days and only the HHS secretary can make such a declaration.
“Then-acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan first declared a national opioid emergency on Oct. 26, 2017, and renewed the status in January 2018,” the news outlet recalled, noting that “HHS Secretary Alex Azar subsequently renewed the emergency designation seven times, most recently on Oct. 16, 2019 — which was 99 days ago.”
The department realized on Thursday that the declaration had lapsed and began working quickly to restore emergency status, two people familiar with the matter told Politico.
Though Trump has boasted of his decision to declare the opioid crisis an emergency, officials and public health experts have said the declaration has done little to impact the crisis.
Many of the president’s “significant steps to fight the epidemic — including guidance for states to expand addiction treatment and a CDC awareness campaign — were accomplished outside of the emergency status,” Politico reported.