September 11, 2017

Reed, Whitehouse Demand Action on Opioid Crisis Since Trump Administration Announcement of Intent to Declare National Emergency

Four weeks later, inaction leaves communities on the frontlines of opioid crisis in need of resources, relief

Washington, D.C.Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse joined a group of ten senators led by Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) in calling on President Donald Trump to take immediate action on the opioid crisis and answer specific questions about the President’s overdue promise to declare the epidemic a national emergency.  In July, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, created by President Trump, provided a number of recommendations to help address the opioid crisis, including declaring a national emergency.  Unfortunately, President Trump has yet to act on any of the Commission’s recommendations.  In the letter sent today to the White House, the Senators ask how the administration is evaluating the emergency declaration recommendation and the steps it will take to end the opioid use disorder and overdose crisis. 

“Regardless of whether you choose to declare a state of emergency, continued inaction on this issue is deeply concerning,” write the senators in their letter. “In order to effectively treat this crisis with the urgency it demands, we believe you must take action immediately to expand treatment capacity, increase prevention efforts (including prescriber education initiatives), improve data sharing, and support detection and interdiction efforts to address the supply side of this epidemic – all recommendations for action proposed by the Commission you created.”

Senators also signing the letter include Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.).  A copy of the letter can be found here.

Opioid overdoses claimed 326 lives in Rhode Island in 2016, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health.  Whitehouse was a lead author of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was cosponsored by Reed and signed into law last year to combat the epidemic.



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