Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire
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Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Urges President to Renew Public Health Emergency Declaration and Provide Adequate Funding

Jan 19, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, led by Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Donald Norcross (D-NJ), is urging President Trump to renew the public health emergency declaration of the opioid epidemic and provide the necessary funding to support it. The public health emergency declaration will expire on January 22, 2018. Forty-six additional members joined the co-chairs and vice-chairs in this request.

Last year, the Task Force successfully called on the Administration to declare a public health emergency, and additionally last week, the group announced its 2018 legislative agenda that includes commonsense, bipartisan legislation to address the opioid epidemic from the perspective of law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and recovery.

“The CDC reported an opioid-related mortality rate increase of 28 percent over the last year, or more than 42,000 opioid-related overdose deaths.” said the Task Force. “The CDC’s new data demonstrates the immediate need for a renewed and well-resourced public health emergency focused on this drug crisis. While it is important for this declaration to be renewed to allow for maximum federal flexibility to combat this epidemic, cooperation with Congress to provide the necessary funding to properly support such an emergency declaration is vital. We urge you to work with Congress to advance additional funding as part of fiscal year 2018 budget negotiations as well as the inclusion of emergency supplemental funding for any continuing resolution. We stand ready to assist you in a bipartisan effort to ensure that a renewed declaration is well-resourced and has the full support of Congress.”

Full Letter Text Below:

 

Dear Mr. President,

As the Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, we strongly urge you to direct the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to renew the public health emergency declaration first declared on October 26, 2017 by Acting Secretary Eric. D. Hargan, which will expire on January 22, 2018.

In December 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their 2016 drug overdose mortality figures. The CDC reported a opioid-related mortality rate increase of 28 percent over the last year, or more than 42,000 opioid-related overdose deaths. Alarmingly, CDC reported lethal fentanyl and synthetic opioid involved in over 19,000 overdose deaths, a figure that represents a doubling over 2015 statistics.

The CDC’s new data demonstrates the immediate need for a renewed and well-resourced public health emergency focused on this drug crisis. As the increasing prevalence of synthetic opioids makes clear, this crisis is rapidly evolving. The changing face of the crisis has made an already difficult situation more precarious. Our communities continue to suffer from the scourge of opioid misuse; we as a nation need to ensure all federal resources are mobilized to effectively address this crisis.

As you know, a national public health emergency declaration provides the federal government with additional tools it could use to help communities across the country grapple with this disease. While it is important for this declaration to be renewed to allow for maximum federal flexibility to combat this epidemic, cooperation with Congress to provide the necessary funding to properly support such an emergency declaration is vital. We urge you to work with Congress to advance additional funding as part of fiscal year 2018 budget negotiations as well as the inclusion of emergency supplemental funding for any continuing resolution.

We were encouraged when you delivered on your promise to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency and stand ready to assist you in a bipartisan effort to ensure that a renewed declaration is well-resourced and has the full support of Congress.

In addition to Representatives Macarthur, Kuster, Norcross, and Fitzpatrick, this letter was signed by: Representatives Dingell (D-MI), Tenney (R-NY), Tipton (R-CO), Joyce (R-OH), Neal (D-MA), McGovern (D-MA), Esty (D-CT), Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Knight (R-CA), Foster (D-IL), Rothfus (R-PA), Meng (D-NY), Sinema (D-AZ), Poliquin (R-ME), Messer (R-IN), Meehan (R-PA), Costello (R-PA),  Comstock (R-VA), Walorski (R-IN), Suozzi (D-NY), Stefanik (R-NY), O’Halleran (D-AZ), Thompson (R-PA), Ryan (D-OH), Schneider (D-IL), Brownley (D-CA), Takano (D-CA), Zeldin (R-NY), S. Maloney (D-NY), Turner (R-OH), T. Rooney (R-FL), Deutch (D-FL), Duffy (R-WI), Kaptur (D-OH), DeSaulnier (D-CA), Grothman (R-WI), Moulton (D-MA), Davis (R-IL), Donovan (R-NY), Rice (D-NY), Kilmer (D-CA), Pingree (D-ME), Keating (D-MA), Courtney (D-CT), Jenkins (R-WV), and Larson (D-CT).

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