Trump administration officials are proposing new rules to curb the opioid epidemic in a sweeping move that would allow states to waive some of the restrictions they have put in place since taking office.
The Trump administration is proposing new restrictions that would let states waive some restrictions they put in effect since taking power.
The move would let some states waive their restrictions on opioid prescriptions, but would still require people to have access to opioids, such as OxyContin, and a prescription for it.
The rules would also let states put in limits on the amount of opioids prescribed and the frequency of opioid use.
“This is a significant move to bring opioid addiction and misuse under control,” said Nancy Hensley, director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“This is about saving lives, and this is the right thing to do.”
Hensley noted that about 10,000 people die each day from opioids, but that the administration did not know how many of those deaths could be attributed to misuse or abuse of opioids.
“We need to start treating addiction as a public health issue and not a criminal issue,” she said.
The administration has also been working to address the rising opioid epidemic, which is now at a rate of more than 300,000 deaths a year.
It is estimated that roughly 11 million Americans are living with an opioid problem, and nearly two-thirds of them are white, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Trump, a former reality TV star, has been under intense scrutiny from lawmakers and others who believe he did not do enough to tackle the opioid crisis.
Some of his top advisers, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have expressed concern about the administration’s response to the crisis.
The opioid epidemic has hit hard in the West, where opioids are increasingly becoming a lucrative drug and are being sold at higher prices.
In California, for example, opioid sales reached $2.7 billion last year, up more than 10 percent from the previous year.
In Texas, the number of opioid prescriptions has tripled since 2015, to 775,000 in 2016.
States have been able to get around these rules by allowing people to purchase prescription opioids from pharmacies that are not subject to restrictions, but Henssey said it is not clear that this is effective.
“It is unclear that we will be able to do more than a temporary relief,” she told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.
Henslay said that the rules would allow patients to obtain prescription opioids by prescription or over the counter, and the administration is also proposing rules that would give states the power to require doctors to prescribe opioids for patients with a medical condition, including opioid dependence.
The proposal is a major step toward tackling the crisis, Hensry said, adding that it would make it easier for people who have been struggling with addiction to access treatment.
“I’m thrilled about this, and I think it will help people who are in a difficult place,” she added.