WASHINGTON (WSAZ) -- A group of U.S. Senators is urging President Trump to renew the opioid public health emergency, saying there’s been little action since it was declared in October. The list of Senators includes Joe Manchin and Sherrod Brown among others.
Here’s the letter they sent in full:
Dear Mr. President,
The opioid epidemic is devastating our country and it is only growing worse. Newly released data from the CDC shows that we lost more than 42,000 people to an opioid-related overdose in 2016. That’s a 28% increase in overdose deaths compared to 2015 and a five-fold increase since 1999. Put another way, we lost more than 115 people every day in 2016 to opioids. That is why it is critical that we immediately take every possible step and use every tool at our disposal to work to end this crisis.
On October 26, 2017, you declared a public health emergency with the goal of mobilizing federal resources and strengthening the federal response to the opioid epidemic. This emergency declaration expires on January 23, 2018. Unfortunately, we have seen too little action taken relative to the magnitude of the problem and urge you to immediately renew the opioid public health emergency declaration and to work with us to push for substantial funding to address the opioid crisis as part of the upcoming budget deal and omnibus negotiations.
Federal funding supports efforts to help stop the epidemic at every level. It is needed to prevent addiction, provide treatment to those with substance use disorders, fund overdose reversal treatments and harm mitigation efforts, strengthen law enforcement, and support efforts to care for the many children who are the unwitting victims of this disease.
That is why it is critical that we work together to provide every federal agency with the resources that they need to help our states overcome opioid use disorders. Too many in our communities are losing their lives, families, and futures to opioids and we need to be doing everything humanly possible to help them.
We hope that you will immediately renew the opioid public health emergency and work with us to fight for the federal funding needed to adequately address this crisis.