DAYTON, Ohio – President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered his acting HHS Secretary to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, stopping short of the full national state of emergency that he promised two months ago.
Dayton Mayor and Democratic primary candidate for Ohio Governor Nan Whaley – one of the first mayors in Ohio to declare a state of emergency on the epidemic – issued a response to the declaration in a release Thursday.
“Trump’s declaration is a long time coming, but it’s far too little, far too late and Ohioans are growing weary of his empty promises,” Whaley said. “While it is a small step in the right direction, it’s not enough. This is a national emergency.”
Whaley said that resources are needed on the ground to combat this epidemic and deliver help to Ohio families.
“This declaration does nothing to hold the big drug companies accountable for creating the mess,” she noted.
Last week, Whaley announced that one of her first acts as Governor of Ohio would be to impose a nickel per dose surcharge on opioid distributors to hold them responsible for creating the heroin epidemic, the release said. This surcharge would generate $31.5 million per year and funding will go to local first responders, substance abuse stabilization centers and state psychiatric hospitals, it added.
In June, Dayton was the first city in Ohio and fourth in the nation to sue the big drug companies, manufacturers, and doctors for the opioid crisis.
Whaley has also worked to ensure that all of Dayton’s first responders are equipped with life-saving Naloxone, the release said. And at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, it said, she led an effort to pass a resolution to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the damage they’ve done.