Press Room

Opioid Epidemic Remains a Public Health Emergency

ARLINGTON, VA (Jan. 23, 2018)—ASTHO President John Wiesman issued the following statement in response to Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan’s announcement about the renewal of the public health emergency declaration to address the opioid crisis. 

“Renewing the public health emergency declaration is an important step in the right direction. However, this renewal must be coupled with resources so states and territories can scale up their public health interventions. We also hope the public health emergency can spur efforts to reduce the stigma that can be associated with substance use disorder and treatment, and fund prevention efforts with our youth and families to help end this crisis.” 

“Ninety days have passed since the President first declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. Neither the Administration nor Congress has requested or provided additional resources to address this epidemic that is plaguing our nation. Since the initial declaration in October, nearly 4,140 people have died from opioid overdoses and 90,000 have been treated in hospital emergency departments. Congress needs to take action and increase federal support for treatment, recovery, and prevention programs.” 


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.