White House Hosts Opioid Summit

The White House is hosting a summit Thursday at which Cabinet secretaries will explain how they are fighting the nation’s opioid crisis.

It will also be attended by individuals who have been affected by the epidemic.

President Donald Trump declared the crisis a national public health emergency in October.

In 2016, about 64,000 people died of drug overdoses, about two-thirds of which were caused by opioids.

State and city governments are bearing most of the financial burden of the crisis. Congress approved funds in its budget agreement reached last month, but the money has yet to reach state and city coffers.

The epidemic is widely believed to have been caused by the failure of drug makers and distributors to report the redirection of opioids from pharmacies to the underground market and doctors’ over-prescription of the narcotic painkillers.

The summit comes two days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a new task force would go after pharmaceutical companies and distributors for contributing to the epidemic.

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