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  1. ITV Report

Trump says US opioid crisis is a 'national emergency' as pledges to offer more support

Donald Trump said he would formally declare a national emergency on opioid abuse. Credit: AP

Donald Trump said he will officially declare a national emergency over the opioid addiction epidemic in America.

The President said urgent action was needed as he pledged more government resources to help solve the crisis at a press conference at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The opioid crisis is an emergency. And I am saying officially right now: it is an emergency, it's 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

– Donald Trump

A recent report found that 142 people died from drugs abuse in the US every day - a toll which is "equal to September 11 every three weeks".

ITV News has been speaking to some of those affected by the national epidemic, from addicts to coroners and police chiefs.

Opioid addict Ian Blackburn spoke to ITV News about spread of drug abuse in the US. Credit: ITV News

Mr Trump received a briefing on the drugs report earlier this week during his 17-day working vacation in New Jersey.

He told reporters that the current swathe of addictions was on a scale never seen before in the US, adding that he would shortly prepare documents to formalise the declaration of a national emergency over the issue.

Health and human services secretary Tom Price later seemed to suggest that the President may not go so far as he had suggested.

Mr Price said additional funding and support could be made available without making a formal declaration, but added that all options were "on the table".

Protests outside a shareholders meeting of pharmaceutical company McKesson.

American opioid addicts have told ITV news how they slid into drugs abouse - with many initially getting hooked on legally-prescribed painkillers.

One said that he had been given strong painkillers from age nine for a minor skin condition, leading him down a pathway that quickly led to illicitly-obtained pills and then heroin.

The current US addiction epidemic cuts across class boundaries, with many middle class people among those affected.

Police chiefs have admitted they are struggling to cope and are at a loss to deal with the root causes of the crisis.