Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD, is pushing back against calls by a White House commission to declare opioid abuse an official national emergency, Medscape reports.

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD, today said the Trump administration could effectively battle opioid abuse without declaring it an official national emergency, a step recommended by a White House commission on the epidemic.

In a news conference following a briefing with President Donald J. Trump on the subject, Dr Price said the president “is absolutely committed to solving that problem” and treating it as an emergency. However, “we believe at this point that the resources we need or the focus we need to bring to bear on the opioid crisis can be addressed without a declaration of emergency, but all things are on the table for the president,” Dr Price said.

He noted that national emergencies declared by previous administrations involved “time-limited problems or specific threats to public health.” Examples include the Zika virus and Hurricane Sandy.