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On August 10, 2017 President Trump announced his intention to declare a national emergency following the recommendation of the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Opioid abuse is among the most consequential preventable public health threats facing the nation. More than 600,000 deaths have occurred to date, with 180,000 more predicted by 2020. Of the 20.5 million US residents 12 years or older with substance use disorders in 2015, 2 million were addicted to prescription pain relievers. A national emergency declaration authorizes public health powers, mobilizes resources, and facilitates innovative strategies to curb a rapidly escalating public health crisis.

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JAMA (Online First), Aug. 23, 2017, at E1-E2