A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee said the president had "done nothing" for the people affected by the drug crisis.
Trump also has called for tougher law enforcement, including locking up more drug dealers after what he said was a decline in drug-related prosecutions since 2011, and more aggressive policing at USA borders to stop the import of heroin and synthetic opioids. The Commission wrote (pdf) to Trump saying an official declaration "would force Congress to focus on funding" and "awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will".
Trump received a briefing on the report earlier this week during his 17-day working vacation in New Jersey.
"Medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder have proven to be both clinically and cost-effective, but are seriously underutilized despite epidemic growth in the number and severity of opioid-related deaths", the American Society of Addiction Medicine concluded in a 2014 review of opioid treatment studies.
Those who see the opioid crisis in Manatee County on a daily basis are glad to see the declaration made.
The president also spoke at the briefing of securing the southern border, one of his signature 2016 campaign promises, as a key component of fighting the opioid epidemic-echoing his comments in a leaked transcript of a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, which was released last week. The average American would likely be shocked to know that drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and auto crashes combined, the report states.
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said "the question will be: Will that money be used to increase hospital bed availability, medically assisted therapy for the millions of people now addicted and widely available naloxone to prevent overdose deaths?" Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Washington "must continue to fully fund important programs on prevention, treatment, and recovery". Without addressing these two areas of concern, an effective response to this 21st Century public health emergency will be inadequate. After that event, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told reporters that declaring a national emergency is a step usually reserved for "a time-limited problem", like the Zika outbreak or problems caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Before that, the last emergency declaration, unrelated to a natural disaster, was during the 2009-10 flu season, when there was widespread concern over a potential pandemic. "In this case, this is a problem that has been festering for some time - and now we're finally paying attention to it".