The Opioid Epidemic and the Future of Public Health Emergencies
ABA Health eSource; 2018 14(5)
8 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 1, 2018
On October 26, 2017, after weeks of internal deliberations, President Donald Trump directed Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Eric Hargan to declare a national state of public health emergency (PHE) in response to the escalating opioid epidemic. In so doing, the President classified the opioid epidemic as the deadliest PHE to ever be so designated since the nomenclature originated in 2001. HHS’ declaration has generated considerable controversy. However, the primary question is not whether the opioid epidemic qualifies as a PHE, but rather what other conditions might also constitute PHEs going forward. This article suggests a series of criteria designed to better clarify PHEs for the future.
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