The leader of the White House commission on opioids is criticizing President Donald Trump for failing to urgently act to mitigate the addiction crisis.
Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that “it’s not good” that the White House has not made any formal declaration designating the opioid crisis a national emergency.
Trump created the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis through an executive order March 29 and tapped Christie to lead the efforts. In an interim report given to Trump July 31, the commission implored Trump to immediately declare the crisis a national emergency in order to open up greater access to federal resources for states ravaged by drug abuse, reports The Associated Press.
Christie released 40 recommendations for how to battle the opioid scourge in New Jersey Tuesday that he hopes to implement before leaving office in January. The recommendations include a reform that will allow first responders to carry double the dosage of Narcan, the overdose reversal drug, than currently allowed by law. Christie addressed the delay at the federal level during his announcement.
“The problem is too big to say that if he declared an emergency two months ago, it would have made a significant difference,” Christie said Tuesday, according to NorthJersey.com. “But I would also say you can’t get those two months back. So it’s not good that it hasn’t been done yet. If you’re asking me: Would I have preferred him to sign it on Aug. 1? Yeah, I would have. But when it comes, it will be welcome no matter what.”
The White House said the national emergency is historically reserved for natural disasters, making it an “involved process” to roll out for the opioid epidemic.
Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse released Sept. 7 predicts the addiction epidemic in America will continue to deteriorate, pushing drug deaths to an estimated 71,600 in 2017. If the estimates prove accurate, 2017 will be the second year in a row that drug deaths surpass U.S. casualties from the Vietnam War.
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