Blunt Rochester Issues Statement Regarding the Declaration of the Opioid Epidemic as a "Public Health Emergency"
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester (DE-AL) released the following statement after President Trump’s executive action on the opioid epidemic.
“From our rural communities to our urban centers, the opioid crisis is causing devastation the country over. While I am pleased that the Administration is beginning to address this national epidemic, I strongly believe that more must be done to combat the severity of this issue,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “Congress has already proposed a bipartisan package that will assist law enforcement in treating those with addiction and will help individuals in their own struggle with this disease. The human cost is simply too great not to take significant steps toward a comprehensive approach to combat the opioid epidemic.”
“Simply put, this effort falls short of the incredible response that is required. The decision to declare a ‘public health emergency,’ and not a ‘national emergency’ under the Stafford Act, only allows for broader usage of grants and an easement of regulations, but ultimately fails to provide law enforcement, public health officials, and medical facilities with the tools they need to tackle the opioid crisis. We need to come together, as Democrats and Republicans, to put forth a national opioids response that provides sufficient funding and coordinates new and innovative ways to overcome this epidemic.”
Congresswoman Blunt Rochester is a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force and a cosponsor of a bipartisan package of legislation aimed to stymie this crisis. The legislative package includes initiatives that would expand access under Medicaid for addiction treatment services, arm U.S. Customs and Border Protection with new tools to combat drug trafficking, give families the flexibility to use their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for addiction treatment, and establish pediatric care centers within Medicaid for the treatment of babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) from opioid exposure during pregnancy.