President Donald Trump said his administration is preparing to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.
Such a move would offer state and federal agencies more resources and power to combat the epidemic, CNN reported.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I am saying, officials, right now, it is an emergency. It is a national emergency,” Trump said while on vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “We are going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”
“We are going to draw it up, and we are going to make it a national emergency. It’s a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had,” he added.
Trump’s statement came two days after the release of a federal report that said drug overdose deaths continue to climb in the United States, despite efforts to combat the nation’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis.
The drug overdose death rate reached 19.9 cases for every 100,000 people during the late summer of 2016, compared with 16.7 cases per 100,000 the year before, the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics stated in its quarterly mortality report.
The 12-month overdose death rate also showed an increase. The rate was 18.5 overdose deaths per 100,000 people for the 12-month period ending in September 2016, compared with 16.1 deaths per 100,000 during the same period a year before, the NCHS said.
The increase shows that drug deaths have continued to rise from 2015, which itself had been a record-breaking year for overdose deaths.
A total 52,404 people died from overdose in 2015, a 75 percent increase from the 29,813 overdose deaths in 2005, the NCHS reported.
About 33,091 of overdose deaths in 2015 involved opioids. Prescription or synthetic opioid pain relievers—like Percocet, OxyContin and fentanyl—were implicated in more than two-thirds of opioid-related overdose deaths, the agency said.