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President Trump Declares Public Health Emergency: What’s the Plan?

President Trump Declares Public Health Emergency: What’s the Plan?

All day people all over the country have been waiting for President Trump to make his formal announcement of the opioid epidemic as a national emergency. Finally, the time for the event at the White House has come, but the announcement has some wondering if enough is being said. So we want to take a little bit of time to talk about some of the highlights from the president’s announcement.

President Donald Trump did give a detailed speech regarding many efforts that are being pursued to combat the opioid epidemic in America. Yet, some are saying that he didn’t say enough about how these resources would be funded, pointing out his declaration was for a Public Health Emergency.

So what does it all mean? Why does the difference matter?

Public Health VS National Disaster

To be clear, both are forms of national emergency declarations. What is the big deal? Well, the difference is the scope and funding that comes with address each order. So today, President Trump, through the Public Health Services Act, directed his acting secretary of health and human services to declare a national health emergency. According to a senior White House official, this designation that will not automatically allocate additional federal funding for the crisis.

If the president has utilized the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, otherwise calling the opioid epidemic a national disaster, the federal government would have been able to immediately tap into funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to combat opioids.

Some may say this move was made since the Stafford Act is traditionally used for natural disaster relief, such as with recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. President Trump and President Obama’s administration officials both say that using the Stafford Act would have been too broad and put an unwarranted burden on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund. Which seems somewhat likely, since this fund is already being depleted by recovery efforts from the three major hurricanes that hit the United States this year.

Overall, it seems many officials from this and the previous administration feel that a Public Health Emergency was a more appropriate choice out of the two.

What Will Public Health Emergency Do?

The order from President Trump will do some good, including:

  • Expanding access to telemedicine to get treatment for those in rural areas
  • Instructing agencies to limit bureaucratic delays for dispensing grant money
  • Secure Department of Labor grants for the unemployed
  • Shift funding for HIV and AIDs programs to provide more substance abuse treatment for people already eligible
  • Expands Narcan access

The nationwide health emergency that Trump ordered is more direct but comes with less immediate action.

According to Senior White House officials, they will be following up by working with Congress to get more money for the Public Health Emergency Fund. Which is a good start, since critics are quick to point out there is only $57,000 in this fund.

It is also said to increase federal funding in year-end budget deals currently being negotiated in Congress. In fact, Democratic Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey introduced a bill this week that would provide $45 billion for opioid abuse prevention, surveillance, and treatment over 10 years. But will it ever see the light of day?

The President Trump Plan: Pros

There were various parts of the speech from President Trump that did hint at some interesting ideas. Some pros and some cons include:

  1. Expanding Treatment Options

Possibly one of the bigger moves here is that President Trump said his administration would also be working to reduce regulatory barriers that prevent people from getting treatment, such as one that bars Medicaid from paying for addiction treatment in residential rehab facilities larger than 16 beds.

If the president can remove some of these hurdles, more people may have access to better options for treatment.

National Institute of Health has taken the first steps of instituting a public-private partnership that will be working toward research and resources including:

  • New treatment for addiction
  • New treatment for overdose

The president also said,

“We are already distributing nearly $1 billion in grants for addiction prevention and treatment. And over $50 million to support law enforcement programs that assist those facing prison and facing addiction.”

  1. Indictments

For one, Trump said that the Department of Justice is bringing indictments against Chinese drug traffickers responsible for bringing deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the country.

Another interesting announcement made by President Trump is that the federal government will soon be bringing major lawsuits against people and companies that are involved in the overprescribing and other shady practices concerning prescription drugs.

  1. Pulling Dangerous Prescription Drugs

Trump also says the FDA is now requiring drug companies that manufacture one high-risk opioid, Opana ER, be withdrawn from the market immediately. He states,

“We are requiring that specific opioid, which is truly evil, to be taken off the market immediately.”

President Trump also states his administration will also be pushing for the development of non-addict pain medications.

The President Trump Plan: Cons

President Trump did in many cases acknowledge some useful aspects of combatting the epidemic. But, there were also some ideas that continue to fall short of innovative.

  1. Advertising

President Trump is also emphasizing the use of a “Massive advertising campaign” to keep young people from doing drugs in the first place. President Trump said-

“- they will see the devastation and ruination it causes to people and people’s lives.”

“The fact is if we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take them. And I think that’s going to end up being our most important thing. Really tough, really big, really great advertising.”

While prevention and education are extremely important, many criticize this strategy saying that these old tactics of “Just Say No” and the D.A.R.E. program just don’t work. This advertising might have been useful if focused on treatment options, but if it is more of the scare tactics of “Refer Madness” then we probably won’t see much improvement.

  1. The Wall

The Commander in Chief also took this opportunity to promote the building of the wall between the United States and Mexico, stating:

“90% of the heroin in America comes from south of the border, where we will be building the wall, which will be greatly helping this problem!”

He took time in his speech to highlight the need to “breaking up gangs and distribution efforts” as a primary way to curb the epidemic.

Of course, the wall is often an issue of contention. Many experts have argued since President Trump proposed this as the key element of his war on opioids that attacking the supply has never worked with preventing the spread of addiction. And even if it did, many believe the wall will do little to prevent drugs from being brought into America from south of the border.

  1. Funding

Some experts are still saying this is not a proper plan because while it does allow federal agencies to move grant money, it establishes no immediate funding for a crisis that killed over 64,000 Americans last year.

Meanwhile, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives today narrowly passed a Senate-approved budget resolution 216 to 212, that some experts claim will cause all $1 trillion cut to Medicaid and $500 million cut to Medicare. Many recovery advocates fear that with the ambiguity concerning health care coverage there will not be enough resources in time to provide treatment to those in need.

Some representatives still believe more funding needs to be committed to the issue, while others say that many people struggling with addiction don’t have health insurance and that more must be done to expand coverage.

Moving Forward

The chairman of President Trump’s opioid commission Chris Christie commended the president, calling his announcement a “bold action” to address the opioid crisis. The opioid commission will present a comprehensive plan next week with the final report on November 1st.

No matter what your opinion at this point, we can all agree we need to be moving forward. This means taking an honest look at what is working and what isn’t. Still, the fact that the highest office in the nation has taken the time to address the issue in such terms is hopefully a sign of dramatic change on the way. Only time will tell how this latest move from President Trump will truly impact the opioid epidemic. For now, there is sure to be plenty of debate over the weight of today’s statements and how they will influence policy. There are some promises to be kept, for sure.

There is a lot more to this conversation, but for now, we have to hope that some of these new opportunities will give options and hope to those in America suffering tragically. The opioid crisis is nothing we can expect to be fixed by one person overnight. We have to continue to provide resources to those in need. Palm Healthcare Company facilities have proudly provided addiction treatment resources for decades to those in need. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Addictive Opana Pulled From Market After FDA Confronts Abuse

Addictive Opana Pulled From Market After FDA Confronts Abuse

Oxymorphone is a powerful semi-synthetic opioid analgesic developed in Germany back in 1914. Since the painkiller’s introduction into the medical world it has gone by many brand names, such as:

  • Numorphan (suppository and injectable solution)

  • Opana ER (extended-release tablet)

  • Opana IR (immediate-release tablet)

  • O-Morphon in Bangladesh by Ziska pharmaceutical ltd

In the midst of the opioid epidemic in America many pharmaceutical drugs are now under close scrutiny for their addictive potential. Now, a public announcement has come to light explaining that in June of 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked the manufacturer of Opana ER, a Oxymorphone medication, to remove the product from the market.

What is Opana?

Opana or Oxymorphone is meant for use as:

  • Moderate to severe pain relief
  • Preoperative medication to alleviate apprehension
  • Medication to maintain anaesthesia
  • As a obstetric analgesic

Oxymorphone extended-release tablets are designated for managing chronic pain. These tablets are also only for people already on a regular schedule of strong opioids for an extended time.

Oxymorphone immediate-release tablets are recommended for breakthrough pain for people on the extended-release version.

Endo International PLC is the Big Pharma empire based in Dublin, Ireland that manufactures Opana.

  • 2006- Opana approved for use in the United States
  • 2012- Endo changed the drug’s formulation to try to make it harder to abuse. The FDA approved sales of the new version, however the FDA prohibited Endo International from marketing Opana as abuse deterrent.
  • 2013- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an illness associated with intravenous abuse of oral Opana ER in Tennessee.
  • 2015- Reports in Austin, Indiana indicated an outbreak of HIV was caused by recreational injection of Opana

Endo primarily makes generic medicines, as well as a number of brand-name specialty drugs. Endo reported that Opana ER last year posted net sales of $159 million.

Opana ER Abuse

The FDA has taken a revolutionary stance after deciding that the risks greatly outweighed the benefits of Opana use.

In a statement on Thursday Endo International PLC said it will voluntarily stop selling the pills. However, the drug-maker does not necessarily agree with the conclusion made by the FDA, adding in their statement that the extended-release opioid is safe and effective when used as intended, and that Endo still believes Opana ER’s benefits outweigh its risks.

And yet, FDA advisers are firm after reviewing the safety of Opana ER and voting 18-8 against keeping it on the market.

The agency said it had perceived a “significant shift” from individuals abusing the drug recreationally by crushing and snorting the pill to injecting it instead. Besides the stories in Indiana and Tennessee, Opana was also called out for contributing to the rising rates of drug overdose and overdose deaths.

According to the FDA there were no generic versions of the reformulated Opana ER on the market, as of June. However, there are two generics of earlier versions of Opana on sale, called Oxymorphone.

The Big News For Big Pharma

The big news here is that this is the first time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has actively taken steps to remove a currently marketed opioid pain medication from sale due to the drugs abuse and the related public health consequences!

Some see this as a major move in the fight toward overcoming the opioid addiction problem gripping the nation.

Thus, Endo International PLC has committed to working with the FDA to try to minimize disruption for patients relying on the drug for pain relief. Of course those prescribed to the drug for medical reasons will also need to be provided with alternative treatments.

But the FDA isn’t done yet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration claims that its agencies will be reviewing other opioid painkillers and could take further action to regulate or even eliminate dangerous opioid medications like Opana ER.

Taking steps to reduce the impact of this epidemic is a step in the right direction. Big Pharma might be in for a bit of a shakedown from the FDA as they attempt to reduce the amount of dependence on opioids. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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