Whitehouse Statement on Opioid Crisis Meeting
Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), author of the comprehensive addiction and recovery law that passed last year, visited the White House today to meet with President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Whitehouse released the following statement on the meeting:
“For years, I have heard from Rhode Islanders battling addiction to opioid drugs. They shared with me how stubbornly this illness took hold and how hard they fought to shake it. Their families and friends have told me how difficult it is to watch loved ones fight such a relentless enemy. And health care providers, teachers, law enforcement officers and others on the front lines have described how hard it is to keep up with the addiction crisis—the longer hours on the job, the extra resources expended, and the heavy emotional toll of witnessing so much pain.
“I took those Rhode Islanders’ stories to the White House today and conveyed to Governor Christie and his team how critically important it is for the federal government to do its part in battling this crisis. In particular, I urged them to use the tools we created in our comprehensive addiction and recovery bill that President Obama signed into law last year. I also told them how irresponsible it would be to cut funding for the prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that are helping Rhode Islanders. While this crisis is going to take time and energy to end, we have the power to do it.”
In July, President Obama signed into law Whitehouse’s Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which established a range of policies to prevent and treat addiction to opioid drugs, including programs to increase education on drug use, to expand medication-assisted treatment, to improve prescription drug monitoring programs, to support those in recovery, and to promote comprehensive state responses to the opioid crisis.
In Rhode Island in 2015, 258 people lost their lives to overdoses – more than the number of those killed in homicides, suicides, and car accidents combined.
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