President calls opioid crisis national emergency - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

President calls opioid crisis national emergency

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PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - President Donald Trump said he is drawing up documents to call the opioid crisis a national emergency. Just miles away from his winter White House, the epidemic is playing out at alarming rates.

Now, some people who work in recovery in Delray Beach say his announcement could be promising.

"I didn’t grow up and say I wanted to be addicted to some sort of narcotic," said Chris Kaufteil, a recovering addict who now works in intensive outpatient care at Beachcomber Rehabilitation Center.  "I had plans and dreams, as did my family."

Kaufteil told NewsChannel 5 he was college educated and came from an upper-middle class family.

"Initially, it was an injury that I had from high school sports and it carried on into opiod pain medication and later on more powerful street drugs," he said.

He's now working on the front lines and calls the President's announcement a good start, saying that we need federal funding to fight the crisis.

"People are dying out there," he said.

For Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, the fight is personal. At 19-years-old, she said her sister lost her best friend. And more recently, her senior aide lost her daughter to the epidemic.

"We are lacking treatment beds," she said. "We have for the majority of our population that is seeking treatment, they need assistance…public beds. We have 24 detox beds in the county of 1.4 million."

Commissioner McKinlay also said it is vital that first responders have everything the need. Like many others though, she's waiting to see exactly what the order will say.

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