REPORT: Obama Admin. Ignored Public Health Experts Seeking Fentanyl Crisis Declaration
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In 2016, a group of national health experts asked the Obama administration to declare a national public health emergency in response to spiking fentanyl deaths, but were ignored, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Overdose deaths caused by synthetic opioids, most prominently fentanyl and its analogues, have skyrocketed since 2013. In May of 2016, 11 public health experts wrote a private letter to six Obama administration officials—including the heads of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Centers for Disease Control—asking for a public health emergency to be declared so that the federal government could better respond to the surge of overdose deaths.
The article goes on to state the following:
But, in what the Post characterized as “one in a series of missed opportunities,” the administration declined to declare an emergency. Instead, fentanyl overdoses continued to grow unabated, with Congress and President Donald Trump not taking action for another two years.
Obama administration officials gave only passing attention to the drug that would come to define 2019’s drug crisis. Attorney General Loretta Lynch gave it a passing reference in a 2015 speech; and Tom Frieden, administrator of the CDC, alerted administration officials to the growth in synthetic overdose deaths. But, Frieden told the Post, he often felt like he was not being heard.
“I felt like I was a bit of a voice in the wilderness,” Frieden said. “I didn’t have the sense that people got this as a really serious problem.”
“A massive institutional failure.”
This is the inside story of how Obama officials failed to focus on fentanyl as the powerful painkiller killed thousands across America. https://t.co/Net4H9VDq4
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 13, 2019
Obama Admin. Ignored Public Health Experts Seeking Fentanyl Crisis Declaration https://t.co/sl90A2kJb5
— Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) March 13, 2019
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