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Washington, DC – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today sent a letter to President Donald Trump to express concern that he has not declared the nation’s opioid epidemic a national emergency or taken meaningful actions, like those of Massachusetts and Alaska after declaring their own state-level emergencies, to address the crisis. The senators encouraged the President to heed the recommendation of the President’s own Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis that the President “declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.”
The senators praised the President’s stated commitment to addressing opioid addiction, but expressed, “we are extremely concerned that 63 days after your statement, you have yet to take the necessary steps to declare a national emergency on opioids, nor have you made any proposals to significantly increase funding to combat the epidemic. Emergency declarations can help combat epidemics by freeing up funds, promoting innovative programs, and making treatments more accessible to vulnerable populations.”
The senators also highlighted steps that Massachusetts and Alaskan officials took after declaring their own states of emergency, including, “Alaska’s swift steps to expand access to naloxone and Massachusetts’ efforts to enhance our prescription drug monitoring program.” They called on the President to use the states’ actions as a model to combat the crisis nationwide, and follow through on implementing recommendations from his opioid commission.
“Massachusetts and Alaska have been on the forefront of the opioid crisis that is sweeping our nation, and we are proud to represent states that have tackled the epidemic head on,” the senators continued. “We hope that you will back up your verbal commitment to fighting the ‘serious problem’ of opioid addiction with action.”