President Donald Trump’s Oct. 26 announcement that the opioid epidemic is a “public health emergency” rather than a “national emergency” goes against the understanding of most authorities, said an expert on substance use disorder treatment at Washington University in St. Louis.
“Recall that the commission President Trump formed, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, indicated that the opioid epidemic was the equivalent of the September 11 attacks happening every three weeks,” said David Patterson Silver Wolf, associate professor at the Brown School and director of the Community-Academic Partnership on Addiction.
“In light of the recent ’60 Minutes’ report and Washington Post article detailing the epidemic as the result of Big Pharma, politicians and attorneys joining together to remove barriers for Big Pharma to flood our communities with opioids, our country was attacked,” Patterson Silver Wolf said.
“Unfortunately, American money and power attacked and killed thousands of Americans and continues on today, killing about 190 Americans daily.”
Mislabeling this epidemic as a public health crisis, Patterson Silver Wolf said, “allows our attackers the freedom to continue attacking us.
“If one of America’s enemies, say Iran or North Korea, attacked and killed 190 Americans today on American soil, this would not be a public health crisis. We as a country would mobilize around this national emergency and respond accordingly,” he said.
“For the 190 American families who will lose a loved one today and have lost one every day for the past several years, this is more than a public health crisis,” Patterson Silver Wolf said. “A public health crisis will not stop our attackers. Until America is willing to hold our attackers accountable and mobilize around a national emergency, we must prepare ourselves to continue losing our loved ones to this gruesome epidemic.”