Kaine urges Trump to empower states in fight against opioid epidemic
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined 19 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to address the nationwide opioid epidemic. Last year as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress included $1 billion for states to expand opioid addiction services, but nearly four months since this funding became available it has still not been allocated to states based on need.
“The opioid epidemic is getting worse. In 2015, opioids killed more than 33,000 people, more than any year on record,” Kaine and the other Senators wrote. “Congress provided this funding so that individuals and families would be able to get the treatment they need. Every day that passes without these resources being allocated is a missed opportunity for someone to embark on recovery.”
In November 2016, the State Health Commissioner declared Virginia’s opioid crisis a public health emergency. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia (OCME) estimates that nearly 1,100 Virginians died of opioid overdose in 2016 – an average of three deaths daily. Later this week, Kaine will visit the Bristol Lifestyle Recovery Center and talk about the Center’s plans to help meet drug treatment needs in Southwest Virginia.
A copy of the letter can be found here.