President Trump on Thursday directed HHS to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, but fell short of fulfilling his promise in August to declare "a national emergency" on opioids, which would have prompted the rapid allocation of federal funding to address the issue. His directive does not on its own release any additional funds to deal with the drug crisis. He made little mention of the need for the rapid and costly expansion of medical treatment that public health specialists, including some in his own administration, argue is crucial to addressing the epidemic. To combat the epidemic, the president said the government would produce "really tough, really big, really great advertising" aimed at persuading Americans not to start using opioids in the first place. The designation of a public health crisis, formally made by acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan, will allow for some grant money to be used to combat opioid abuse, permit the hiring of specialists to tackle the crisis, and expand the use of telemedicine services to treat people in rural areas ravaged by opioid use, where doctors are often in short supply. Trump said his plan would include a requirement that federally employed prescribers be trained in safe practices for opioid prescriptions, and a new federal initiative to develop nonaddictive opioid analgesics, as well as intensified efforts to block shipments of fentanyl into the United States.