Watch live: Trump declares opioid crisis a public health emergency

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President Trump on Thursday will instruct the acting director of the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, White House officials said.

It’s a move that won’t free up additional federal funding and is a more narrow option recommended by the president’s opioid commission.


At a press conference last week, Trump said he’d make the announcement this week, calling a declaration “a very important step” and saying “to get to that step, a lot of work has to be done and it’s time-consuming work.”

Administration officials said they felt that a public health emergency was a better use of resources. It will allow acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan to loosen certain regulations and issue grants and spend money that he otherwise would not be able to.

A public health emergency needs to be renewed every 90 days until the declaration is no longer needed.

Trump is expected to speak at 2 p.m.

Watch live in the video above.

Tags HHS Opioid epidemic Public health emergency

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