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Trump Says Opioid Crisis is National Emergency


President Trump called the opioid epidemic a national crisis, while vowing to spend time, effort, and money to fix it.

Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare.

Trump declares opioid crisis a national emergency

This week, President Trump said he is going to officially declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. He said he had never seen anything like it in his lifetime.

"The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I'm saying officially right now it is an emergency. It's a national emergency. We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," he said on the opioid crisis from Bedminster, N.J. while on a working vacation.

Trump's remarks came days after he received a briefing on the epidemic, according to The Washington Post. Following his public remarks, the White House released a statement saying the President "has instructed his Administration to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic."

Prior to Trump's comments, governors in Arizona, Florida, Maryland and Virginia had already declared opioid emergencies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Congress, physician groups and the insurance industry have taken institutional steps to address the crisis. For example, the FDA published an Opioids Action Plan, laying out a number of suggestions to combat the crisis.

There are an estimated 2.6 million opioid addicts in the United States, according to The Washington Post.

Diabetic medication adherence linked with financial issues

Nearly one in five adults aged 45 to 64 with diabetes reported having reduced or delayed medication to save money in the last year, according to data published recently in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Responses from the 2015 National Health Interview Study showed that among adults aged 45 and up who were prescribed medication, adults with diabetes were 7 percent more likely to skip doses, 7 percent more likely to take less medicine, and 8 percent more likely to delay filling prescriptions to save money than others in the same age group who did not have diabetes. 

Furthermore, only 4.7 percent of adults aged 65 and up without diabetes reduced or delayed medication compared with 6.8 percent of those with diabetes.

"When a doctor or other health professional prescribes a medication, it is because the patient needs it," Sarah E. Lessem, PhD, a health statistician at National Center for Health Statistics, told Medical Economics. "Nearly all adults aged 65 and over are eligible for Medicare. Medicare coverage may be associated with the better ability to afford medication, but this analysis did not directly explore that association."

Poll: Americans eager for healthcare cooperation

A poll by Kaiser Health News found that eight in 10 Americans believe President Trump should try to make the current health laws work. The respondents included a large majority of Democrats (95 percent) as well as a majority of President Trump's supporters (51 percent).

The study of more than 1,200 people also found just under six in 10 people think Republicans and Democrats should be working together to improve health law. Furthermore, just 17 percent of the public - and 40 percent of Republicans - think the Trump administration should take steps to make the health law fail, the survey said.

Only 21 percent of respondents, including 49 percent of Republicans, want the GOP to continue working on a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, the survey found.

In May, the House passed a GOP bill to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and drastically cut Medicaid. The Senate failed to pass the GOP health bill before it left for a summer break last week.

Quote of the week:

"The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place…So if we can keep them from going on-and maybe by talking to youth and telling them 'No good, really bad for you in every way.' But if they don't start, it will never be a problem." – President Trump on stopping the opioid epidemic. 

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