- Associated Press - Thursday, October 26, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump and his speech on the opioid crisis (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

The acting health and human services secretary has officially declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency, as requested by President Donald Trump.

Eric D. Hargan says in a statement that Trump “has made this national crisis a top priority since he took office in January.” And: “we are proud to be leading in this effort at HHS.”

The declaration does not provide any additional money to fight the opioid epidemic, but it does allow agencies to redirect resources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 140 Americans die every day from drug overdoses - including 91 specifically from opioids.


3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump recalled his brother’s struggles with alcohol as he announced new efforts to combat opioid addiction.

Speaking at the White House Thursday, Trump said his older brother, Fred Trump Jr., was a “great guy,” but that “he had a problem with alcohol.”

Trump said: “He would constantly tell me, ‘Don’t drink.’” As a result, Trump says, he has never had a drink of alcohol or smoked a cigarette.

Trump has spoken before about his brother, an alcoholic who died at 42. He said Thursday that he “had a very, very tough life because of alcohol.”


3:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is vowing that the nation’s opioid crisis “will be defeated” as he winds up his speech on drug addiction.

Trump was surrounded by people touched by addiction when he signed an order to make the problem a national public health emergency.

The president allows that the problem may “get worse before it gets better” but is vowing that it will ultimately get better.

Trump adds: “We will win, right?”

Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999.


3 p.m.

President Donald Trump is outlining “aggressive steps” to address the nation’s addiction to opioids. Trump says it’s the worst drug crisis in U.S. history.

Speaking in the East Room of the White House, the president says he is directing federal agencies to do everything in their power to combat the crisis.

Trump says that includes a “massive advertising campaign” reaching out to young people to avoid prescription drugs.

Trump also says his administration will soon provide “relief” for state governments looking to access Medicaid funding for drug treatment centers with more than 16 beds.

Trump is also promising more research funding for opioid alternatives. He says the administration will be “spending lots of money coming up with a nonaddictive solution.”


2:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, and says it’s sparing “no part” of the United States.

Trump has made that announcement at the White House - and he says the scourge affects rural areas and cities, rich people and the poor, and the elderly and newborns.

Trump says it all amounts to “a national health emergency” that’s ripping “the nation apart.”

The president had campaigned on an effort to combat the crisis and has taken criticism for being slow to act.


2:30 p.m.

Melania Trump says drug addiction “can happen to any of us.”

The first lady offered opening remarks Thursday before President Donald Trump gave a speech on opioid addiction. The president plans to declare the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.

Melania Trump said she has recently taken a “larger interest in what I can do to fight this epidemic.” She said she has been participating in meetings and listening sessions.

She acknowledged the audience, which included parents whose children died and people who have struggled with addiction.

The first lady says: “We are here today because of your courage.”


1 p.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says her reaction to President Donald Trump’s declaration of an opioids emergency is: “Show me the money.”

The California Democrat told reporters Thursday that Trump has proposed cuts in programs aimed at opioids abuse like Medicaid. She says everyone agrees Congress must pay attention to the problem, but adds that the president’s statements are “words without the money.”

Trump was planning an afternoon speech to announce his action.

White House officials said Trump’s declaration wouldn’t provide new funds but would do things like expand access some rural areas have to medical services. They say they will press lawmakers to use end-of-year budget negotiations to add money to a public health emergency fund.


8:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump will direct his Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency under the Public Health Service Act.

That’s according to senior White House officials, who were not authorized to publicly discuss plans before the announcement and briefed journalists on condition of anonymity.

The declaration does not come with specific funding. But officials say it will allow changes such as expended access to medical services in rural areas.

Trump will deliver a speech Thursday on fighting the opioid crisis. He’s said an emergency designation will give his administration the “power to do things that you can’t do right now.”

Trump pledged during his campaign to make fighting addiction a top priority at rallies in some of the hardest-hit states in the


3:36 a.m.

President Donald Trump is poised to deliver a major speech Thursday on fighting the opioid epidemic, which now kills tens of thousands of Americans every year.

During his campaign, Trump had pledged to make fighting addiction a top priority at rallies in some of the hardest-hit states in the nation.

Once in office, Trump convened a commission to study the problem, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And he has pledged to declare the crisis an emergency, freeing up additional money and resources.

But some advocates worry even that won’t make enough difference.

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