Recovery expert: Trump's opioid declaration doesn't go far enough

Posted: Updated:

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared opioid addiction a national public health emergency, but some Long Islanders say the declaration does not go far enough. 

The move received a mixed response from recovering addict Sarah Smith, of Northport. She says the president should have declared a national emergency, which would have meant more money to fight the epidemic. 

"We need resources…money and training and everything now. Not in a few months, because people are dying," says Smith.

The sentiment was echoed by Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of Thrive, a Long Island recovery center.

"A national emergency would have allowed the federal government to tap into FEMA and other funding sources. A public health emergency limits it to a single fund. That fund today has $57,000 in it," says Dr. Reynolds. 

According to data released from the medical examiners in Suffolk and Nassau counties, 500 people died from opioid overdoses last year on Long Island. Nationally, the numbers are even more staggering. Dr. Reynolds says 44,000 people have died since President Trump took office. 

Sarah Smith says she hopes President Trump's declaration is a step in the right direction.

"I don't know how many people need to die in order for us to get attention, because we need help," says Smith.

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