President Trump has declared the opioid crisis a national emergency, though the official paperwork declaring it so is still to come. "We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," he promised after the declaration Thursday, which came in response to a question as he was talking to reporters outside a national security briefing during his working vacation in New Jersey. "It is a serious problem, the likes of which we’ve never had," he continued. "You know, when I was growing up, they had the LSD, and they had certain generations of drugs. There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years."
Trump indicated the official paperwork was still being written up, noting, "this is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest." But the Washington Post says even such a declaration is likely to have little immediate impact, though it could allow some "bureaucratic barriers" to dealing with the crisis to be removed. NPR notes that Trump's Thursday declaration is a reversal; earlier in the week, after briefing Trump on the opioid crisis, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price seemed to indicate it would not be declared a national emergency, noting that such declarations are usually reserved for "time-limited" problems like Zika. (Read more opioids stories.)