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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Opioid Advocates Worry National Emergency Talk Is Just Empty Words

The Trump administration plans to officially declare a national emergency for the opioid crisis months after President Donald Trump said he would. But experts are worried there won’t be any money to back it up. In other news on the crisis: the challenges of curbing the spread of fentanyl; how the epidemic is affecting older Americans; a special legislative task force is address opioid’s impact in New York; and more.

The Associated Press: Trump Readies Opioid Plan, But Some Worry It Won’t Be Enough
President Donald Trump’s long-awaited declaration that the opioid epidemic is a national emergency finally arrives this week, but some advocates are worried that it won’t be backed with the money and commitment to make much difference. Trump is expected to make the formal declaration and deliver a major speech on the topic Thursday, more than two months after he first announced that would be his plan. (Johnson and Colvin, 10/25)

Modern Healthcare: Experts: Trump Declaration Needs To Be More Than Funding Hike For States
As President Donald Trump gears up to formally declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, addiction medicine experts hope the hotly anticipated announcement will go beyond financing states’ efforts to combat the epidemic. Months after Trump first announced plans to formally declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, the president is expected to make his first meaningful response to the issue on Thursday, which will likely include releasing millions in federal resources to respond to the epidemic. Many addiction medicine experts have praised the administration’s move. (Johnson, 10/24)

The Washington Post: The Opioid Crisis: Wave Of Addiction Linked To Fentanyl Worsens As Drugs, Distribution Evolve
Michelle MacLeod died in a tough part of town known as the Tree Streets, where many of the streets have names like Ash, Palm, Chestnut and Walnut. Kevin Manchester, who provided the fentanyl that killed her, lived on Pine. After MacLeod’s death, Nashua police wired her fiance and recorded him telling Manchester that MacLeod had overdosed and died. Manchester kept selling the powerful synthetic narcotic anyway. Manchester, 27, went to prison for selling drugs that proved lethal — a “death-resulting” charge that prosecutors are using more frequently as they battle the opioid epidemic. (Achenbach, 10/24)

The Hill: Opioid Epidemic Also Hitting Older Adults
As America grapples with an opioid epidemic, senior citizens are often overlooked. Yet, older adults are highly susceptible to chronic pain and the prescription painkiller addiction is hitting this population. … Roughly one in three beneficiaries in Medicare’s prescription drug program received a prescription for opioids in 2016. About half a million received high amounts of opioids. And nearly 90,000 are at “serious risk” of opioid misuse or overdose, according to a July report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). (Roubein, 10/24)

The Associated Press: NY Lawmakers Take Another Look At Heroin Abuse’s Effects
A special legislative task force examining how heroin and opioid abuse are affecting communities around the state is coming to central New York. The state Senate’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Cortland. (10/25)

The Baltimore Sun: Fentanyl-Related Overdose Deaths Continue To Soar In Maryland 
Nearly 800 overdose deaths in the first half of the year linked to the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl helped push the number of overdose deaths in Maryland to a new high, state data released Tuesday shows. While the number of deaths from heroin and opioids generally moderated slightly, fentanyl-related fatalities jumped 70 percent over the same six-month period last year. (Cohn, 10/24)

The Star Tribune: Surge In Powerful New Synthetic Drugs Puts Minn. Authorities On Alert For Safety
Seizures of deadly synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil have soared in Minnesota this year, forcing law enforcement agencies to adopt new procedures for collecting evidence, making drug arrests and testing samples at forensic laboratories. The synthetics are so powerful that, in some cases, scientists at the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) have been told not to handle drug samples without an agent nearby to administer naloxone, an antidote, in case of accidental contact. (Montemayor, 10/25)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com: Raided Urgent Care Clinics Have Been In Legal Crosshairs For Years
The Advanced Urgent Care clinic in Willow Grove was among at least five of the company’s facilities across the state raided by investigators with the DEA, the FBI, and other agencies Monday. A source said it was part of a drug-related probe into Mehdi Nikparvar-Fard, who owns at least two of the clinics. Nikparvar-Fard has been in federal custody since September for allegedly lying to and threatening U.S. marshals who visited another of his clinics, in Wynnefield, to deliver a bench warrant for a civil suit against him. (Palmer and Sapatkin, 10/24)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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