Oct 24, 2018

Trump's new efforts to combat the opioid crisis

President Trump speaking about his plan to confront the opioid crisis, in March. Photo: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The number of overdose deaths in the U.S. “has begun to plateau,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said yesterday, in advance of a White House event today at which President Trump will sign Congress' most recent opioids bill into law.

What's new: Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the death rate holding steady, after years of increases.

  • “Plateauing at such a high level is hardly an opportunity to declare victory,” Azar said. “But the concerted efforts of communities across America are beginning to turn the tide.”

What’s next: The legislation Trump will sign this afternoon includes a couple of important policies, including expanded access to medication-assisted treatment. And health care companies are joining in with announcements of their own.

  • Express Scripts is announcing that it successfully redirected many of its clients toward shorter prescriptions and safer drugs.
  • Emergent BioSolutions will announce that it’s donating doses of naloxone, the overdose-revival drug, to every public library and YMCA in the country, senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told Axios earlier this week.

Meanwhile, HHS announced a new initiative yesterday to improve Medicaid treatment for women who are dependent on opioids and are pregnant or have recently given birth.

  • The 5-year model will include up to $64.6 million in grants to states, with the goal of delivering treatment to women who need it and connecting them with other support networks.

Go deeper: The youngest victims of the opioid epidemic

Go deeper

Situational awareness

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  2. Trump misrepresents 2020 Russia briefing as Democratic "misinformation"
  3. Bernie Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"
  4. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone
  5. Scoop: Lyft acquires cartop advertising startup Halo Cars

Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders told CBS "60 Minutes" that he was surprised by Mike Bloomberg's lackluster performance at Wednesday's Democratic debate.

What he's saying: "If that's what happened in a Democratic debate, you know, I think it's quite likely that Trump will chew him up and spit him out."

Scoop: Lyft acquires cartop advertising startup Halo Cars

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lyft has acquired Halo Cars, a small startup that lets ride-hailing drivers earn money via ad displays mounted atop their cars. Lyft confirmed the deal but declined to share any details.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing companies are increasingly eyeing additional ways to generate revenue, and Lyft rival Uber has been quietly testing a partnership with New York-based Cargo that gives it a cut of the advertising revenue, as I previously reported.