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Senate Democrats demand answers on opioid crisis efforts

Saying the Trump administration has yet to offer any new funds to fight the growing opioid epidemic, some Senate Demo...

Posted: Feb 2, 2018 1:52 AM
Updated: Feb 2, 2018 1:53 AM

Saying the Trump administration has yet to offer any new funds to fight the growing opioid epidemic, some Senate Democrats are demanding answers about what the White House is doing to address the problem.

Though President Donald Trump declared it a public health emergency in October, the Democrats charge, little is known about the measures being taken to address the crisis that the government says resulted in an estimated 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016.

19 Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office

They took aim at the fact that no new money has been allocated to address the epidemic

"Given the severity of the crisis, we have grown increasingly concerned by reports that the President has done little to make use of his public health emergency declaration, leaving state and local communities without the resources they need to fight the opioid epidemic," says a letter signed by 19 Democrats that was sent Tuesday to the Government Accountability Office.

The office is a nonpartisan government watchdog that investigates federal spending and performance. The senators took particular aim at the fact that no new money has been allocated "to address the epidemic, in spite of bipartisan calls from governors and legislators that it do so."

They also sought accountability on what resources are available and the processes the administration is following to track its actions since declaring the public health emergency.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, Trump pledged that the issue remains a top domestic priority.

"It is terrible. We have to do something," he said. "My administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need, for those who've been so terribly hurt. The struggle will be long and it will be difficult -- but, as Americans always do, in the end, we will succeed. We will prevail."

Trump formed a bipartisan opioid commission in March to study the problem, and it came up with a list of 56 recommendations, including setting up nationwide drug courts to help place substance abusers into treatment rather than sending them into the prison system.

But former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, one of six members of the commission, recently told CNN that the Republican-led Congress had turned its work into a "charade" and a "sham."

He blasted Trump for not setting aside new money to tackle the crisis and took sharp aim at Congress for recent tax cuts, saying the country "would lose more money in a year than we could spend in a decade to solve this crisis."

"This and the administration's other efforts to address the epidemic are tantamount to reshuffling chairs on the Titanic," Kennedy said.

"The emergency declaration has accomplished little, because there's no funding behind it. You can't expect to stem the tide of a public health crisis that is claiming over 64,000 lives per year without putting your money where your mouth is."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
St. Clair15442305
Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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While some cool mornings are again in store for the weekend, afternoons start to warm up a bit, so plan on dressing in layers if you're heading to the MSU or Bama games, because you'll need to utilize them in different ways.
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