White House opioid commission urges Trump to declare federal state of emergency

White House opioid commission urges Trump to declare federal state of emergency

The White House's opioid commission is recommending that President Trump declare a federal state of emergency over the epidemic, which has struck dozens of states.

The commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), filed a long-awaited report on the crisis on Monday after missing its second deadline extension earlier this month. 

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"The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act," the commission wrote in its interim report. 

"Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life."

The commission is tasked with studying ways to combat and treat the opioid epidemic, which led to the deaths of 33,000 people in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It will release more recommendations in the fall, the commission confirmed on Monday.

The commission released other recommendations in its first report, including: mandating prescriber education initiatives; establishing and funding a federal incentive to enhance access to treatment; and providing model legislation for states to allow dispensing of naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication.

Opioid deaths have risen sharply for years and could kill nearly half a million people in the U.S. over the next decade if not addressed, according to a recent study from Stat News.