Fifty-one House Democrats called on President Donald Trump Tuesday to listen to a White House commission and call the opioid overdose epidemic a national emergency.
President Trump signed a March 29 executive order that established the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The government recently estimated that a whopping 64,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016. In particular, there is a wave of opioid addiction sweeping the nation that has decreased American life expectancy by two and a half months.
By officially deeming this overdose epidemic a national emergency, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could negotiate for cheaper prices for naloxone, a life-saving drug for people overdosing on opiates. The letter from the House Democrats noted that Evzio, the first naloxone auto-injector (like an EpiPen), “has a staggering price of $4,500 for just two doses.”
The commission, which is headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, wrote in its recommendations to the White House, “We urge you to mandate, with federal assistance, that naloxone be in the hands of every law enforcement officer in the United States.”
The commission made its recommendations on July 31, however, the White House has yet to implement all of them.
The House Democrats who signed the leader, including House Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings, wrote: “At this moment, you have the ability to take immediate action to implement these recommendations and make good on your promise to help save the lives of many Americans affected by this national emergency.”
“We appreciate the commission’s hard work on this important interim report. Many of its initial recommendations are already being implemented by the Administration. We are continuing to review its recommendations, and eagerly await its final report,” a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Daily Caller Thursday.