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On Thursday, President Donald Trump declared America’s opioid epidemic as a public health emergency.
With Alaska Gov. Bill Walker in attendance at the White House, the president described the opioid situation as the ”worst drug crisis in American history.”
Each new day brings fresh evidence that Trump’s description is accurate. We hear horror stories from around the country, try to comprehend 64,000 overdose deaths nationwide in 2016, and shudder knowing there’s a market for opioids here in Ketchikan.
We credit the president for drawing more attention to the issue. Also, Trump’s declaration brings with it some changes to federal rules along with other components that could help combat it.
Still, the president’s declaration was not accompanied by the significant dedication of federal resources that many Americans believe should be committed to attack the epidemic. Their disappointment was voiced Thursday, and will continue to be voiced as the scourge continues.
However, and unfortunately, we’re not aware of a coherent plan or effective national strategy to pursue. Without a committed, practical and effective strategy in place, throwing money and resources around would help some people but not nearly to the extent needed.
We hope that enough good will remains in American society to allow the development of ways to truly combat the opioid epidemic. It’s a problem that stretches across geographic, political, cultural, religious, economic, generational and philosophical lines.
Trump said: "As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue.”
Woe to us all if we fail.