ME addiction experts and some members of the state's congressional delegation said President Trump's declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency is an important step but believe what happens next is more critical.
So President Donald Trump´s failure this week to formally declare the overdose epidemic a "national emergency" - words that would have freed up more federal funds to tackle the crisis - was disappointing for him.
The president debated invoking a disaster emergency under the Stafford Act, which would have made FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund available for governors who declared the opioid crisis a disaster situation. In turn, it would have opened new funding streams for combating the problem.
"We think of prevention services - sometimes they're funded by bake sales and PTOs - and that's just not how we pay for public health awareness on other diseases and conditions", Criss says.
He advocates an "educational full press", enlisting the medical community to find safer ways to manage pain, parents to see the signs of addiction earlier as well as stepping up enforcement of current drug laws. Those limits could also be adjusted under a national emergency declaration.
She lauded the president's promise to crack down on drug dealers and to shut down the flow of fentanyl, a powerful narcotic blamed for many overdose deaths.
But Trump also laid out ways in which his administration would be attempting to combat the opioid epidemic. "We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic, we can do it", President Trump said on Thursday.
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"Those approvals will come very, very fast", Trump said. A statement from Christie said the commission will give Trump "an even more comprehensive set of recommendations" to fight opioids in a report to be issued November 1.
"I have spoken to the president in depth about this epidemic and the devastating impact it is having on our communities in OH and around the country, and I know he is committed to addressing it in a comprehensive way", said a statement from Portman, who urged Congress to provide more resources to fight the epidemic.
The money is needed to expand treatment for people with substance abuse disorders and to provide more of the antidote naloxone to first responders and the public, Wen said.
Sen. Angus King of ME, an independent, has become a leading voice on the opioid crisis and prior to the president's announcement called for a comprehensive approach and more funding. They said any national resources and attention that could be devoted to the issue will help save lives.
Trump said the federal government will "pretty soon" start suing "bad actors", including people and companies that are "hurting our people". HIV/AIDS health funding would also be prioritized for those who need substance abuse treatment, officials said.
He added, "I have spoken to the president in depth about this epidemic and the devastating impact it is having on our communities in OH and around the country, and I know he is committed to addressing it in a comprehensive way".
"Officials said the declaration would help fight abuse of prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl by expanding access to treatment, and curb delays in staffing the Department of Health and Human Services to help states grapple with the crisis".