Last week, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) called on President Trump to take further action to combat the opioid epidemic. In a letter signed by 67 Members of Congress, Foster asked that the President declare the epidemic a national emergency and request full funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Public Health Emergency Fund.
"The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in our country's history, affecting communities across the country and in every district," Foster said. "We strongly encourage the President to declare this crisis a national emergency and to provide full funding for treatment and addiction programs so that the individuals who suffer from opioid dependence can get the help they need."
In 2017, the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recommended that the President declare the crisis a national emergency. Instead, on October 26, 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis as a public health emergency. A national emergency declaration would unleash more resources at the discretion of the President and Secretary of Health and Human Services, allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to act more quickly to fund grants, conduct investigations, and bypass regulations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl killed more than 42,000 individuals in 2016.
A copy of the letter is available here.