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Kentucky expert weighs in on President's opioid emergency declaration

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - President Donald Trump on Thursday took a stand against the opioid epidemic by declaring it a national emergency, pledging more money and attention to the issue.

Former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey, who says he targeted heroin and pill pipelines in his time as a prosecutor, says the president's national emergency declaration is a good first step, bringing awareness to the magnitude of the problem and freeing up more resources to fix it.

"This is not just a slogan. It truly is a national emergency," Harvey told WKYT's Garrett Wymer. "Entire communities are being devastated, families are being devastated, the societal cost is immeasurable."

Harvey, who is now a member of Dickinson Wright PLLC, says the president's opioid epidemic commission that recommended the emergency declaration laid out some good recommendations for addressing the problem.

Those recommendations came from a draft report that spells out steps the government can take, including mandating more education for doctors about properly prescribing pain pills, increasing access to Narcan, and reducing barriers to treatment.

The report cites CDC estimates that approximately 142 Americans die every day from drug overdoses, "a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks," the report states.

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