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Trump Receives Briefing On North Korea As Tensions Escalate

13 Agosto 2017

Days after sending mixed signals on his response to the nation's opioid crisis, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he plans to declare a national emergency to better address the epidemic. The president took questions from reporters from his golf club in New Jersey yesterday.

The industry in the US is in decline. Today he said maybe that threat wasn't tough enough.

"The tragedy of war is well enough known, it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic".

But there's a problem: These stats don't tell you much about opioids.

MARTIN: The president has gotten a lot of criticism from Democrats and Republicans, members of his own party, for exacerbating the tension with North Korea by making statements like the one we just heard. Do you think the president's language helps or hurts right now?

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: The states that have declared emergencies on opioids show the national scope of the crisis. If Trump wanted to be specific, he could have cited a Washington Post investigation that showed the Drug Enforcement Administration, under pressure from drug companies, softened enforcement of wholesale companies that distributed pills to the corrupt pharmacies that illegally sold the drugs for street use. Those powers might not meaningfully help advocates fighting the opioid crisis, who instead say the accompanying media spotlight may be the most tangible effect of the declaration by stirring officials to act. And, you know, we obviously in that case certainly wouldn't tolerate that.

So we don't really know what prompted the president to change course, but a national emergency declaration is something the White House opioid commission had recommended.

The re-entry piece, the targeting piece - there are still unknowns as far as North Korea's ability.

And it's really only - it's been less than a week since the U.N. Security Council took their actions where - these were massive sanctions. It was a pretty big deal because it was a unanimous vote that included Russia and China.

On Wednesday, the North Korean government said it is exploring a plot to fire missiles toward the coast of Guam. Trump's presidential commission on opioids said an emergency declaration would allow for immediate action and send a message to Congress that more funding is needed. We're going to be bringing them up and bringing them up rapidly. For instance, to open up more treatment beds, to create funding and make it easier for legislation, for first responders to use naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses, in the field.

MARTIN: Let me ask you on that in seconds remaining - are you convinced that China will stick to these sanctions? So hopefully they do, but it hasn't been a good track record thus far.

Public Health Nurse Lisa Roberts, with the Portsmouth, Ohio, Health Department, said she believes a national emergency declaration could increase relief for rural areas struggling to keep up with the crisis. Thanks so much for your time this morning. We really hope that that commitment that we saw last weekend is one that they stick to.

ZELDIN: Thank you. Good morning.

Trump Receives Briefing On North Korea As Tensions Escalate