Whitehouse Statement on Opioid Emergency Announcement
Washington, DC – Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, author of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), released the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s announcement that the Department of Health and Human Services will declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency:
“The President is certainly right to call the scourge of opioid addiction a public health emergency. I expressed the urgency of this crisis in no uncertain terms to his team at the White House in April. But to fight this emergency in earnest, we need more than declarations; we need full funding behind the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Congress passed last year. This Portman/Whitehouse legislation charts the course that people on the front lines of the crisis say we must follow to support those walking the long, difficult, and noble path of recovery. Fund CARA programs, or this declaration will amount to little.”
In 2016, President Obama signed CARA into law, establishing programs to increase education on drug use, expand medication-assisted treatment, improve prescription drug monitoring, support those in recovery, promote comprehensive state responses to the opioid crisis, and take other critical steps to combat opioid addiction.
Opioid overdoses claimed 326 lives in Rhode Island in 2016, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health. Projections suggest the death toll from opioid abuse could top 650,000 Americans over the next ten years.
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