He added that the option, like the rest of the policies suggested in the commission's report, was still "on the table".
In July, a commission appointed by President Donald Trump to study drug addiction made an urgent recommendation that he declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, similar to the declaration made after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost 35,000 people across America died of heroin or opioid overdoses in 2015. Price responded that measures can be taken - and already are being taken - without the declaration.
The task force largely encouraged a public health approach to the epidemic.
Trump's initial federal budget called for a 2 percent increase in drug treatment programs and would provide funds to increase border security to stop the flow of drugs into the country. It also called for all treatment facilities to offer medication-assisted treatments like buprenorphine, which have been proved effective, but have faced institutional resistance.
With the opioid crisis intensifying and dozens of Americans dying of drug overdoses each day, President Trump pledged Tuesday to "beat this awful situation" at a briefing held here during his 17-day "working vacation". Some reporters predicted Trump would announce a significant policy shift after the event.
In a sign that Christie's commission favored a treatment over an enforcement role for police, the report recommended equipping law enforcement officials around the country with naloxone, a drug created to reverse drug overdoses.
He heralded Price as the person to lead his effort to tackle the issue, and said that no one is safe from opioid addiction.
He added: "So if we can keep them from going on and maybe by talking to youth and telling them: No good, really bad for you in every way".
Well, if you're confused about President Trump's views about drugs, then you're in luck. Price said combatting the opioid epidemic is "an absolute priority of [Trump's] administration". But more than 80 percent of America's opioid addicts are abusing prescription opioids, most of which were originally legally prescribed.
The government's annual drug death statistics typically lag by about a year.
Indeed, Secretary of Health Tom Price confirmed that the White House would not declare a state of emergency at this time.
Aides have said Trump was joking, but they offered no explanation for Rosenberg's absence from the opioid meeting, instead referring questions to the agency.
The impact of declaring a national emergency isn't directly clear.
"Strong law enforcement is absolutely vital to having a drug-free society", Trump told reporters from the clubhouse of his golf club in Bedminster.
The comment was immediately slammed by Republicans and Democrats alike, including by the Republican governor of New Hampshire who endorsed Trump for president.
Its charge was to study the scope and effectiveness of the federal response to the opioid crisis and to make recommendations to the president for improving that response.