By Greg Marotta It’s 9/11 every 2.5 weeks. This is how to conceptualize the jaw-dropping toll of opioid deaths in the U.S., according to Gov. Chris Christie, who chaired the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis (which CleanSlate Board Member Patrick J. Kennedy helped prepare). The irony is that many of these victims are the very people who return from post-9/11 deployments. 

From ASAM - The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) commends CMS' recent guidance to State Medicaid Directors on section 1115(a) demonstrations "designed to improve quality of and access to treatment for addiction." This new guidance expands access to care and requires states to align their section 1115(a) demonstrations with certain goals and evidence-based milestones.

The New York Times - President Trump officially declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency Thursday afternoon. “No part of our society — not young or old, rich or poor, urban or rural — has been spared this plague of drug addiction and this horrible, horrible situation that’s taken place with opioids,” said Trump. Officials said a public health emergency declaration would "quickly lead to crucial changes, including the potential to secure federal grant money and the expansion of access to telemedicine services, which would broaden the reach of treatment to rural areas ravaged by opioid use and where doctors are often in short supply."

STAT gives a helpful rundown of what we can expect - and not expect - from the White House's declaration of a national public health emergency on the opioid epidemic. What's in it? Opportunities to expand access to treatment via nontraditional mediums, shift resources from HIV/AIDS programming, secure grants and appoint specialists. What's not? Money, IMD exclusion, increased access to overdose reversal drugs, or changes to privacy and patient information laws. 

CNN - President Donald Trump will use an event at the White House on Thursday to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, White House officials reported. The move is "different from the broad order Trump previewed over the last few months. The President, according to these officials, will direct acting Health Secretary Eric Hargan to declare a public health emergency under the Public Health Services Act -- which directs federal agencies to provide more grant money to combat the epidemic -- not a national emergency through the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act."