Opioid crisis takes center stage

President Trump promises action on growing drug epidemic that's now claiming tens of thousands of American lives each year.

(NBC News) President Trump on Tuesday vowed to get tough on the nation’s growing opioid crisis, calling it “a problem the likes of which we have never seen.”

During a briefing at his New Jersey golf club, the president said opioid overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 1999, while prosecutions have gone down in recent years.

“Nobody is safe from this epidemic that threatens young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural communities everybody is threatened,” Mr. Trump said.

He vowed to strengthen America’s southern border and focus on law enforcement in response.

“Federal drug prosecutions have gone done in recent years,” the president said. “We’re going to be bring them up and bringing them up rapidly.”

A commission appointed by President Trump described the death toll from overdoses as “September 11th every three weeks”.

Their recommendations include more treatments and expanded access for those treatments, as well as protections for individuals who report overdoses.

The opioid epidemic is widespread. The Centers for Disease Control reports opioid overdoses claimed 33,000 lives in 2015.

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