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US' opioid crisis a national health emergency: Trump

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared the U.S.'s ongoing struggle to combat a deadly opioid epidemic a national health emergency, calling it a "national shame".

"For too long we have allowed drugs to ravage American homes, cities, and towns," he said. "As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue."

More than 300,000 Americans have died from opioid-related overdoses since 2000, according to the White House. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracked 64,000 overdose-related deaths last year alone.

Tying in his long-sought wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, Trump claimed the proposal would "greatly help" combat the crisis if enacted. But opioids have snuck their way into America's living rooms largely through prescription pads rather than cartel black markets.

"Opioid prescribing continues to fuel the epidemic," the CDC said on its website, which noted that about half of all overdose-related deaths are tied to prescription opioids.

Approximately a quarter of those who are prescribed opioids to treat non-cancer related pain struggle with addiction, according to the CDC.

While Trump's declaration seeks to ramp up government efforts to combat the problem, it does not provide any additional funding to lead the effort. The White House framed much of the new effort to cutting bureaucratic red tape and shifting resources.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed Trump's announcement, declaring that "words are not enough.

"It is deeply concerning that this declaration, which comes a full three months after the President’s Commission on the Opioid Crisis’s report, fails to authorize federal funding to help those Americans locked in a life-or-death struggle with opioid addiction," she said in a statement. "It is long past time that the Trump Administration treat this public health catastrophe with the seriousness and urgency it requires."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who led the presidential commission, Pelosi mentioned, said in his own statement that Trump's "bold action" is unprecedented.

But in an interview with GQ magazine, Christie said he had to personally edit down his commission's report to one-third of its original size so Trump would read it.

"I wrote the report for him. It's not like a white paper that is 80 pages that he wouldn't look at. I knew who my audience was,” he said.