BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan was among a group joining President Donald Trump Thursday in Washington, D.C. during an announcement about the national opioid crisis.

Chief Frederick Ryan joined fellow members of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) as Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.

In August, P.A.A.R.I.’s members urged federal government officials to make the declaration.

Police said declaring the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency is “not only a symbolic recognition of the severity and urgency of this crisis, but also will mobilize the highest levels of the government to take immediate and effective action to deploy the resources required to save lives.”

The declaration will not bring new dollars to fight the opioid crisis, which kills an estimated 142 Americans each day. It will, however, expand access to medical services in rural area and shift some federal HIV money to help addicts, White House officials said on Thursday.

Administration officials said they would urge Congress, during end-of-the year budget negotiations, to add new cash to a public health emergency fund that Congress hasn’t sent money to for years. They made clear that the declaration, which lasts for 90 days and can be renewed, comes with no dedicated dollars.

“We look forward to attending this afternoon’s event and learning more about how the President will honor his pledge to fight this epidemic and give people struggling with addiction access to the help they need,” said Allie Hunter McDade, the executive director of P.A.A.R.I.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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