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Warren Joins Shaheen, Colleagues in Urging Trump Administration to Support Additional Funding to Combat Opioid Epidemic

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Nov 3, 2017

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and 21 other senators in calling on President Trump to support additional funding necessary to combat the opioid epidemic. Last week, after President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency under federal law, Senator Warren urged the administration to "do more to back up its commitments with action" by working with Congress to increase federal funding for existing opioid addiction programs.

"We appreciate your formal declaration that the opioid epidemic is a National Public Health Emergency. While this is a positive step forward, more action must be taken in order to craft a timely and effective national strategy that will achieve long term solutions to this crisis," the senators wrote in their letter. "Specifically, we are concerned that your declaration does not yet include any additional funding resources for key programs and initiatives that will help our patients, providers, first responders and researchers who desperately need more assistance."

The senators continued, "Researchers, providers, patients, first responders, experts and policy makers agree that investing sufficient and timely resources are of paramount importance in order to allow our communities to effectively combat this epidemic. The President's Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis agrees. The final Commission report released this week recommends that your Administration increase access to treatment and recovery programs, as well as expand the capacity for medication-assisted treatment and first responder access to overdose reversal drugs. As such, we encourage your Administration to work closely with Congress to swiftly provide the necessary additional and sustained funding to carry out a multi-faceted approach that supports activities related to research, education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation."

The letter was also signed by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-Mont.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.).

Last week, Senator Warren joined her colleagues in unveiling legislation to invest $45 billion to address the opioid crisis. Recently, Senator Warren and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) called on President Trump to heed the recommendation of his own Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to "declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act." Massachusetts was the first to declare a state-level emergency in 2014, and has since led the country in efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

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Photo Credit: Wendy, Licensed under Creative Commons.

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