CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Hours after President Donald Trump declared opioids a public health emergency, local doctors and opioid experts reacted to the announcement.
Doctors were glad to see Trump officially speak out against the deadly and pervasive epidemic.
However, Trump's plan won't bring new dollars to the fight.
Some treatment advocates anticipated Trump would issue a national emergency on the opioid crisis, which would have ushered in fresh funding to combat the epidemic.
White House officials said the plan would expand access to medical services in rural areas and shift some federal HIV money to help addicts, among other changes.
"The fact is this is a worldwide problem," said Trump in a press conference Thursday morning.
"With over 30,000 deaths annually across the country, and that number rapidly rising...it is one of the most significant health concerns that we have and that we're facing in our country toady," said Dr. Randy Jernejcic.
Jernejcic, the Chief Medical Officer at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, said he couldn't be happier with the president's attack on opioids.
"More people are dying from drug overdoses today than from gun homicides and motor vehicle accidents combined," said Trump.
Jernejcic said he's astounded that someone is finally speaking out on the drugs that have claimed the lives of so many. "I'm thankful that President Trump has decided to go ahead and elevate what we all know here as a crisis."
As the lead doctor for University Hospitals' system-wide response to the opioid crises in Ohio, Jernejcic is hoping to one day find a solution to the problem, but says it won't be easy.
"There are so many different factors to this and what that tells me is that there's not going to be one magic pill to solve this," said Jernejcic.
Opioids' toll on Ohio
According to an Ohio State University study, "Taking Measure of Ohio's Opioid Crisis," an annual total cost of opioid addiction, abuse, and overdose deaths ranges from $6.6 billion to $8.8 billion statewide. To put this into perspective, Ohio spent $8.2 billion of general revenue funds and lottery profits money on K-12 public education in 2015.
The study estimates that in a best-case scenario, Ohio likely only has the capacity to treat 20 to 40 percent of the population abusing or dependent upon opioids
In 2015, the drug overdose rate for those in Ohio with just a high school degree was 14 times higher than those with a college degree.
If you or someone you know needs help with opioid addiction, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-HELP.