BEDMINSTER, N.J. — President Trump intends to declare a national emergency in response to the opioid crisis, he said Thursday.
“We’re going to make it a national emergency," Trump said from his New Jersey golf club. "It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had."
Trump said he is "drawing documents now" to officially label the crisis as a national emergency.
A formal declaration of a public health emergency — or a presidential emergency declaration — would give the administration additional powers to waive health regulations, pay for treatment programs, and make overdose-reversing drugs more widely available.
Trump's remarks represented an about-face from earlier this week, when Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price all but ruled out an emergency declaration. Price said the administration has the resources it needs to combat the epidemic without formally invoking the emergency powers.
"The president certainly believes we should treat is as an emergency, and it is an emergency," Price told reporters after meeting with Trump. "Look, when you have the capacity of Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium dying every single year in this nation, that's a crisis that had to be given incredible attention, and the president is giving it that attention."
An interim report from a White House commission issued last week called for a national emergency in response to the opioid epidemic.