President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic to be a public health emergency last Thursday.

Many politicians and medical experts had called for Trump to call the crisis a national emergency, which would have allowed the government to immediately use federal funds to respond to the opioid problem. Even Trump himself had previously promised to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

“The response is inadequate, it is pathetic,” said Art Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, on Boston Public Radio Tuesday.

“You have this gigantic crisis. It is the leading cause of death now for people under 50,” Caplan continued.

In 2016, the opioid crisis claimed more than 59,000 lives, according to the New York Times. While Trump did not announce any concrete plans for combating drug use last Thursday, he did say that his administration will create “really tough, really big, really great advertising,” that will teach children about dangers of drugs.

Caplan sees the Trump administration's decision to call the opioid crisis a public emergency rather than a national emergency as a tone-deaf failure. In addition, Caplan feels Trump’s "say no to drugs" rhetoric and insistence on building a wall to keep out drugs fails to recognize the actual cause of this drug epidemic.

“This is a prescription-fueled epidemic. This is not drug dealers hiding in the dark trying to get kids to come over and use oxycodone,” said Caplan. “The president doesn’t understand what this crisis is."

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full interview with Art Caplan.