President Trump calls opioid crisis 'national emergency'

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks before a security briefing at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Aug. 10, 2017.PlayEvan Vucci/AP
WATCH Trump calls opioid crisis 'national emergency'

President Donald Trump today called the nation's ongoing opioid crisis a "serious problem" and announced plans to formally declare it a "national emergency."

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"The opioid crisis is an emergency and I'm saying right now it's an emergency. It's a national emergency," Trump told reporters at his golf club in New Jersey, where he is on a 17-day working vacation. "We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."

"We're going to draw it up and we're going to make it a national emergency," he said.

On Tuesday, Trump was briefed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price on the issue, which came on the heels of an interim report from the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis suggesting the emergency designation, but he did not mention a forthcoming declaration at the time.

Such a move would permit the federal government to access emergency funding, increase its grants of treatment and prevention programs and possibly adjust rules regulating those who can seek assistance, among other allowances, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

"There's never been anything like what's happened to this country over the last four or five years," continued Trump Thursday. "I have to say this in all fairness, this is a worldwide problem, not just a United States problem. This is happening worldwide. But this is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest."