Greg Allen

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More than three months after President Trump declared the nation's opioid crisis a public health emergency, activists and health care providers say they're still waiting for some other action.

The Trump administration quietly renewed the declaration recently. But it has given no signs it's developing a comprehensive strategy to address an epidemic that claims more than 115 lives every day. The president now says that to combat opioids, he's focused on enforcement, not treatment.

Health care in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains in a critical state, five months after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria pummeled the region.

The only hospital on St. Thomas, the Schneider Regional Medical Center, serves some 55,000 residents between the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. Schneider's facilities suffered major structural damage, forcing a decrease in its range of services, mass transfers of its patients, staff departures and significant losses in revenue. Only about one-third of the beds are currently available for patient care.

At the beach in Magens Bay, St. Thomas, the party is back on. It's one of the Virgin Islands' most popular beaches and by noon on a recent weekday, it's already busy. Reggae-inspired hip hop is playing as pickup trucks converted into taxis bring visitors direct from the cruise ship docks. Chris Dimopoulos runs the bar, serving up margaritas, rum punches and something called the painkiller.

"We're seeing a recovery slowly but surely. Every day gets a little bit better," he says.

When Hurricane Irma's high winds ripped through the Virgin Islands, the islands' radio and television stations were among the first casualties. Tanya Marie-Singh, who heads Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting, says her staff shut down their television and radio signals a few hours before the storm hit. It was nearly two and half weeks before they could get WTJX-FM, a public station that carries NPR, back on the air.

Major League Soccer announced it is awarding a franchise in Miami to former star player, David Beckham. Beckham, his financial backers, local officials and fans celebrated at a ceremony Monday in Miami.

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Authorities in many coastal states say they want Florida's deal. The Trump administration exempted Florida from offshore oil and gas drilling, and that prompts a question - why Florida and not anywhere else? Here's NPR's Greg Allen.

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Before 2017 comes to a close, we're revisiting some of the notable news stories of the year. You might remember back in September, Hurricane Irma struck Florida, knocking out power for millions across the state.

An international human rights group, Refugees International, has issued a scathing report on the U.S. response in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria. The group says "poor coordination and logistics on the ground" by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Puerto Rican government "seriously undermined the effectiveness of the aid delivery process."

Grizelle González is an ecologist who's worked at El Yunque National Forest for 25 years — first as a student and then as a researcher with the U.S. Forest Service. The 46-year-old has a deep attachment to the tropical rainforest. Even now, she gets emotional when she recalls what El Yunque looked like after Hurricane María hit the island on Sept. 20.

"It was completely defoliated," she says, tears welling in her eyes. "The canopy was completely gone. It was almost like a desert landscape."

Tania El Khoury splits her time between London and Beirut, where she helped found an artists' collective. Three years ago, moved by stories she was hearing about the Syrian uprising, she created an interactive work called "Gardens Speak." It grew out of an image she saw of a mother digging a grave for her son in her home garden because public funerals had become too dangerous.

For coastal communities from Florida to Texas, this year's hurricane season may be a preview of what's to come. Scientists say with climate change, in the future we're likely to see more severe hurricanes and heavier rain events. In addition, as ice sheets melt, sea levels are rising faster, flooding low-lying coastal areas such as Miami.

In Caguas, south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jared Haley is fighting a daily battle at C-Axis, the medical device manufacturer where he's the general manager. The power has been out at his plant for nearly three months, since Hurricane Irma.

Operating on emergency generators, the plant restarted operations last month and, Haley says, is delivering all its work on schedule. But he's not happy now with the plant's condition. Walking into his factory, he laments, "This shop used to look like a doctor's office."

These days, Puerto Rico's monumental power restoration effort involves helicopters dropping 100-foot towers into the mountains and a "big dance" of crews, equipment and expertise from several agencies and companies. But progress has been slow and that dance has been a complicated and tedious one on the island, which is experiencing the largest outage in U.S. history.

And sometimes it's one light forward, two lights back.

It's a muggy early afternoon in Morovis, a mountain community about 40 miles from San Juan. Army Reserve soldiers led by Captain Angel Morales are hard at work handing out cases of water and ready-to-eat meals from a flatbed truck. Hundreds of people line up in the parking lot of the Jaime Collazo High School.

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The opioid commission chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered a long list of recommendations to President Trump yesterday in its final report on the nation's opioid crisis. And we have more from NPR's Greg Allen.

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Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

President Trump declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic Thursday, freeing up some resources for treatment. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are currently dealing with the worst drug crisis in American history," Trump said, adding, "it's just been so long in the making. Addressing it will require all of our effort."

"We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic," he said.

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Julio Alicea's 8-month-old granddaughter Aubrey came down with severe respiratory problems a day after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico. "We are very lucky," Alicea says. "The hospital is open and we live nearby." Aubrey's cough turned intense, and when she started vomiting, Alicea says, he rushed her to the hospital at 4 a.m.

She didn't have any respiratory issues before the hurricane, Alicea says, sitting on a blue bench outside San Jorge Children's Hospital in San Juan. His 3-year-old granddaughter Angelica is keeping him company.

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Irma Rivera Aviles, like nearly 200 others, is stuck at a shelter in Cataño, Puerto Rico, where conditions are getting worse daily. Nearly a week after Hurricane Maria rampaged through the country, she's desperately pleading for help. "The governor needs to come here and take a look at our critical situation," she says. "The bathrooms flooded and aren't working, sewage is overflowing, the generator is broken and we are here in the dark."

"We desperately need water, power and ice," she says.

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Hurricane Maria has made landfall in Puerto Rico. Officials say this could be the strongest hurricane ever to hit the U.S. territory, and that is unnerving even hurricane veterans on the island like Abel Mendez.

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We're covering a couple natural disasters on this morning. Let's begin with this powerful earthquake that toppled houses and damaged schools and hospitals in the south of Mexico.

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