President Donald Trump said the opioid crisis is a national emergency and he's drafting up paperwork "to so attest," he said Thursday.
The presidential opioid commission, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, earlier this month urged Trump to “declare a national emergency” and noted that “America is enduring a death toll equal to Sept. 11 every three weeks.”
“It’s a national emergency,” Trump told reporters on Thursday.
Trump, speaking before holding a security briefing at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, said that his administration is “drawing documents” up now on the issue. The crisis is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had," he said.
"We look forward to continuing the Commission's efforts and to working with this President to address the approximately 142 deaths a day from drug overdoses in the United States." Gov. Christie said in a statement Thursday.
About one in three Americans used prescription opioid painkillers like OxyContin or Vicodin in 2015, according to a survey released this month by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NBC News reported.
The NIDA study calculated 91.8 million Americans used prescription opioids, with nearly five percent of adults surveyed saying they took them without their doctor’s permission.
“The most commonly reported sources were friends and relatives for free,” that study reported. “Or a physician.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price earlier this week seemed to suggest the president was leaning against the recommendation when he said the administration could deploy the necessary resources and attention without declaring a national emergency.
Still, Price stressed that "all things" were "on the table for the president."