President Trump made an announcement Thursday designating the country’s opioid epidemic as a public health emergency. His administration said the declaration will allow agencies to direct more federal resources toward dealing with the crisis, which claimed the lives of 33,000 people in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But Trump stopped short of declaring the epidemic a “national emergency,” and state officials say that distinction will prevent them from receiving critical funding for supplies including the overdose reversal drug naloxone, as well as additional treatment services.
Meanwhile, drugmaker Purdue Pharma is under investigation for the marketing of its opioid painkiller OxyContin, while also facing a wave of lawsuits from cities and states over its role in the crisis. An attorney representing several states in lawsuits has said he’s even looking into suing Purdue Pharma’s owners, who have made billions of dollars in profit off the drug.
Also in the news:
• Protesters gathered outside a conference on Monday after the EPA canceled a talk on climate change by three of its scientists in Rhode Island. The agency said in a statement that the scientists were allowed to attend the meeting, but could not speak because “it is not an EPA conference.” (Washington Post)
• The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed to make 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico available for oil and gas drilling. The area up for for sale is thought to hold 48 billion barrels of oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of gas. (Houston Chronicle)
• Anti-abortion activists are pushing back against the company behind the telemedicine app Nurx, dubbed the “Uber for birth control,” as it expands into conservative states. The app allows women to submit health information to be reviewed by a physician, then receive a prescription for contraceptives and the morning-after pill. (STAT)
• Nicaragua will join the Paris climate agreement, according to a statement from the country’s vice president Monday. The announcement leaves Syria and the United States as the only countries not to participate. (The Guardian)
• A leaked draft of a Department of Interior five-year plan obtained by The Nation scrubbed any mention of climate change or climate science, prioritizing “American energy dominance” through oil and gas drilling on public lands. (The Nation)
• And finally: Cambodia officially banned the export of sand extracted from the country’s quarries, waterways, and oceans in July. But environmental activists say the practice hasn’t stopped. (Undark)
Update: An earlier version of this piece referred imprecisely to the “Sackler family” as the owners of Purdue Pharma. Arthur Sackler, brother to now-deceased Purdue Pharma co-owners Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, died before the company was formed.