Morning Report: August 11, 2017

Statistics are pointing to a another steep rise in opioid deaths within the next 10 years. To illustrate the point of just how critical the crisis has become, in the state of Massachusetts, 90% of all drug overdoses are attributed to opioids. In Connecticut, the figure stands at 86%.

Days after his administration said it wasn’t ready to declare it an emergency, President Trump said he’s drafting paperwork to declare the opioid crisis a “national emergency.”

In the state of Massachusetts, 90% of all drug overdoses are attributed to opioids.

In an announcement on Thursday, the president said, “I’m saying officially right now, it is an emergency. It is a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”

Trump was briefed on the epidemic Tuesday by HHS Secretary Tom Price. The president said his administration would beat the epidemic with law enforcement and added security on the southern border to stop illegal drugs from entering the country.

In a report in Politico, health officials expressed concern about the president’s emphasis on law enforcement.

“We can’t jail our way out of this,” said Rahul Gupta, health commissioner for West Virginia. “This is a chronic public health disaster.”

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry is a man of action, and a man with a plan to solve his city’s homelessness crisis.

So far, so good.

To date, 650 of Albuquerque’s most at-risk homeless have a place to live and are piecing their lives back together.

Berry recognized that the most valuable “thing” a person has is their labor, and he applied it to his streets. He created the program, “There’s A Better Way.”

Now, in Albuquerque, using a city-owned van, and partnering with a local non-profit, the program coordinator drives around the city, picking up homeless hires for the day. The panhandlers make $9/hour, are fed, and then connected with counseling services to manage their mental health and re-enter society.

To date, 650 of Albuquerque’s most at-risk homeless have a place to live and are piecing their lives back together.

Homeless experts across New Mexico have noted that earning $9/hr (above New Mexico minimum wage) teaches them the value of teamwork, brings them out of their mental isolation, and re-engages their spirit.

Just look at what the two programs have meant to the homeless population in Albuquerque:

  1. 80% reduction in unsheltered homelessness
  2. 40% reduction in chronic homelessness
  3. A virtual end to Veterans homelessness

Chicago, Denver, Dallas, and Seattle have all contacted Albuquerque and are working toward similar programs in their respective cities.

Read the full story on IVN here.

Congress is on recess until September 5, a much needed respite from all the talk about Russia and health care.

In a new Gallup poll, GOP faithful seem to be losing faith in their party’s ability to get one of its biggest campaign promises done — repealing the Affordable Care Act. The Senate failed on multiple attempts and proposals to repeal and replace the health care legislation.

The latest congressional approval numbers published Wednesday, August 9, show that approval among Republicans in particular dropped from 28 percent in July to 16 percent in August.

According to Gallup, “When members return from recess, they might find their attempts at less contentious measures, such as boosting infrastructure funding, more appealing to Americans — which could ultimately improve their approval rating.”

Read the full story on IVN here.