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: 296154

Reported Deaths: 6764
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19700230
Hinds18851392
Harrison16736281
Rankin12757265
Jackson12623228
Lee9694161
Madison9480203
Jones7990147
Forrest7234138
Lauderdale6837226
Lowndes6032140
Lamar589680
Lafayette5740113
Washington5220130
Bolivar4616124
Oktibbeha441593
Panola431995
Pearl River4178131
Warren4134115
Pontotoc410571
Marshall403592
Monroe3990127
Union396174
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3552104
Hancock348975
Leflore3380118
Sunflower318986
Tate303174
Pike301296
Scott294570
Alcorn292263
Yazoo290565
Itawamba290175
Coahoma281169
Tippah279265
Copiah278758
Simpson276280
Prentiss270258
Wayne254341
Leake252871
Marion252778
Covington249580
Grenada247878
Adams234678
George232145
Newton230852
Winston221877
Jasper213645
Tishomingo212665
Attala206669
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie171239
Clarke169371
Calhoun158028
Smith153033
Yalobusha145036
Greene127833
Walthall124340
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry122135
Lawrence120321
Carroll118625
Amite111734
Webster110832
Jefferson Davis102231
Tunica99323
Claiborne98829
Benton93824
Humphreys92927
Kemper90323
Quitman77414
Franklin76119
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 497154

Reported Deaths: 10029
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson714001387
Mobile36252736
Madison32573462
Tuscaloosa24289414
Montgomery22708519
Shelby22112215
Baldwin19856285
Lee15021155
Calhoun13755288
Morgan13742252
Etowah13379320
Marshall11439210
Houston10110262
Elmore9451185
Limestone9413136
St. Clair9003225
Cullman8979182
Lauderdale8610212
DeKalb8486175
Talladega7582165
Walker6571259
Jackson6542103
Autauga631391
Blount6229127
Colbert5998120
Coffee5259103
Dale4657107
Russell406433
Franklin399778
Covington3989106
Chilton3891100
Escambia378772
Tallapoosa3613143
Clarke343953
Chambers3423111
Dallas3419142
Pike293372
Marion288895
Lawrence284683
Winston258668
Bibb245960
Geneva240270
Marengo238357
Pickens225055
Barbour212951
Hale211969
Fayette201357
Butler201166
Henry182941
Cherokee177739
Monroe166639
Randolph164640
Washington156635
Macon147243
Crenshaw146254
Clay145554
Cleburne139741
Lamar133733
Lowndes132551
Wilcox122525
Bullock117236
Conecuh107024
Perry105927
Sumter99432
Coosa89624
Greene88532
Choctaw55123
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