Redefining Public Health Emergencies: The Opioid Epidemic

15 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2017

See all articles by James G. Hodge

James G. Hodge

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Sarah Wetter

Center for Health and Homeland Security, University of Maryland

Danielle Chronister

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Students

Alexandra Hess

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Students

Jennifer Piatt

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: November 17, 2017

Abstract

On July 31, 2017, the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis called for President Donald J. Trump to immediately declare a national emergency in response to the opioid epidemic. On August 8, President Trump and then Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price indicated their reluctance to issue a declaration while acknowledging the “horrible,” escalating impacts of opioid abuse nationally. On August 10, the President reconsidered and promised to declare a national emergency, which was issued by HHS at the President’s direction ten weeks later on October 26, 2017. Opioid abuse represents one of the deadliest, preventable threats to the public’s health in the United States over the last two decades. Hundreds of thousands have died already; millions more are at risk of death and other negative impacts absent stronger public health interventions. Consistent with similar state and tribal declarations, a national declaration of public health emergency (PHE) makes possible innovative approaches to curb this preventable crisis impacting millions of Americans. However, as discussed in this article, it also redefines the essence of what can be classified as a PHE in the United States under new criteria.

Keywords: opioids, emergency, law, policy, epidemic

Suggested Citation

Hodge, James G. and Wetter, Sarah and Chronister, Danielle and Hess, Alexandra and Piatt, Jennifer, Redefining Public Health Emergencies: The Opioid Epidemic (November 17, 2017). Jurimetrics, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3073193

James G. Hodge (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
111 E. Taylor Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4467
United States
480-727-8576 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.asu.edu/degree-programs/public-health-law-policy

Sarah Wetter

Center for Health and Homeland Security, University of Maryland ( email )

Baltimore, MD 21230
United States

Danielle Chronister

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Students ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

Alexandra Hess

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Students ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

Jennifer Piatt

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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