Melania Trump Will Attend President's Briefing on Opioid Crisis

As'142 Americans dying every day, Opioid Commission seeks national emergency declaration

Fighting the scourge of opioids

"The president certainly believes we should treat is as an emergency, and it is an emergency", Price told reporters after meeting with Trump.

The presidential opioid commission, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, called on Trump last week to "declare a national emergency", noting, "America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks".

President Donald Trump is turning to the Health and Human Services secretary for advice on how to help Americans addicted to opioids.

On Tuesday afternoon, President Trump attended a briefing, held at his New Jersey golf club, on the ever-worsening opioid crisis in the USA, which is killing almost 150 people every day.

Statistics show the percentage of people in the United States dying of drug overdoses has effectively quadrupled since 1999, and drug overdoses now rank as the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

Trump had convened top officials at his Somerset County resort, where he is staying for the next week, for his first publicly scheduled briefing on the opioid crisis.

"It is a problem the likes of which we have not seen", Trump told reporters Tuesday, speaking at his golf club in New Jersey.

It was not immediately clear what an emergency declaration would have meant for the federal government's response to the opioid crisis.

"There's a recommendation on one hand and then it's a rebuffing of that recommendation and we would encourage the President and those in Congress to be encouraging the President that we need to have a very aggressive effort", Mayor Steve Williams said.

Trump focused mostly on law enforcement and shifted blame on the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Prescription painkillers and heroin contributed to an estimated 60,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, a 19% surge over the previous year, according to an estimate compiled by the New York Times.

"If we can get in the school system, educate the teachers, the families, I think there we can start with breaking part of the epidemic", Cynthia Orta, President and Owner of Innova Recovery Services said.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that there were almost 35,000 deaths from opioid overdose in 2015, up from over 11,000 in 2002.

Trump's law-and-order approach to solving the opioid problem is at odds with the experts', who say focusing on the demand side of the epidemic, not the supply side, is the key to saving lives.

Mr Price was repeatedly asked why the President is not declaring a national emergency, as his opioid commission recommended last week.

"We're going to have a tremendous team of experts and people that want to beat this terrible situation that has happened in our country - and we will", Trump told reporters.

One of the commission's key recommendations included declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency.

On Tuesday morning, before he announced he would speak, Trump tweeted a report from Fox & Friends about a new study that says overdose deaths have been underreported.

"If that's not a national health emergency, I don't know what is", Christie said.

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