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Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump will direct the Department of Health and Human Services later today to declare "a nationwide public health emergency" in response to the opioid epidemic, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on a call.

Between the lines: The declaration will not unlock new federal funds to address opioid abuse. Instead, the administration will work with Congress on an end-of-year budget deal and talk about securing more money at some point in the future. The declaration will last 90 days and can be renewed every 90 days if necessary.

The administration officials said that the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by Chris Christie, suggested HHS declare a "public health emergency" instead of a "national emergency," which Trump told Fox News' Lou Dobbs just yesterday he would do. "Next week, I'm going to declare an emergency, national emergency on drugs," Trump said.

What a "public health emergency" declaration will do, per senior admin officials:
  • Expand access to telemedicine services. This will allow people to make temporary appointments with specialists (among federal and state workers) who can be deployed to address the opioid crisis under this declaration in rural areas.
  • Department of Labor can issue grants to provide displaced workers with new opportunities via worker displacement programs.
  • Certain HIV/AIDS programs will shift funds to provide more substance abuse treatment to people who are already elegiible for these programs.

The administration officials wouldn't say how much money they hope to secure from Congress to fight the opioid crisis.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
3 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

4 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.