Today, in a nationally televised display of bravado and impotence, President Trump declared opioids, “an emergency, and I am saying, officially, right now, it is an emergency. It’s a national emergency,” Whether he was lying or just confused is unclear, but White House officials later clarified that he had meant to say “public health emergency”.
Trumps public signing and statement had little impact on the opioid crisis which paused for a moment, then continued killing about 142 people that day. Congress will eventually have to decide if it intends to release funding to actually combat the crisis. Until then, opioids can go about their business.
Because it was not designated a national emergency, the biggest impact the signing will have is a new pen and a brief return to the spotlight for disgraced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie groveled at Trumps feet when beckoned to the signing table and was tossed one of Trump’s back up pens. The original signing pen was given to another excited young boy.
Even though the declaration actually means nothing, the administration plans to attack the problem with tough talking points. AG Jeff Sessions stated people should just “say no” to drugs and Kellyanne Conway following up by suggesting “not starting[drugs] in the first place“. It remains to be seen if these two statements are enough to end the crisis which is claiming 30,000 American lives per year.