Senators say drug issue is national emergency

Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are urging President Trump to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency and take step to combat the crisis.

In a letter sent to the White House on Oct. 12, Murkowski and Warren said that their states have been on the forefront of the opioid crisis sweeping the nation, and are proud to represent states that have tackled the epidemic head on. “We hope that you will back up your verbal commitment to fight the ‘serious problem’ of opioid addiction with action,” they said.

While Trump has stated that he has a commitment to addressing opioid addition, they are extremely concerned that 63 days after his statement that he has yet to take steps to declare a national emergency, nor has Trump 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,” they said.

The senators also highlighted in their letter steps that officials in both states took after declaring their own states of emergency. Alaska took swift steps to expand access to naloxone and Massachusetts has enhanced its prescription drug monitoring program. They urged Trump to use the states’ actions as a model to combat the crisis nationwide, and follow through on implementing recommendations from his opioid commission.