Donnelly Urges Renewed Opioid Declaration

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Donnelly has been a vocal advocate of action on the opioid epidemic. Donnelly has been a vocal advocate of action on the opioid epidemic.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is among a group of senators calling on President Donald Trump to renew the declaration of the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency. The current declaration, issued in October, is set to expire January 23.

The letter suggests there has been "too little action taken" to battle the epidemic since Trump made the declaration on October 26. Donnelly praised President Trump for making the declaration at the time, saying it will take an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to tackle the issue.

Indiana University Kelley School of Business economists estimate the annual impact of the opioid epidemic in Indiana tops $1 billion. The issue is at the center of Indiana University's third Grand Challenges initiative, involving a $50 million investment to develop what the school says will be one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive state-based responses to the epidemic.

The 2018 Indiana University Kelley School of Business economic forecast pegged the annual impact of the epidemic at more than $1 billion. Indiana University's third Grand Challenges initiative involves a $50 million investment to bring together resources from the university's seven campuses to develop what the school calls one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive state-based responses to the problem.

You can see the letter from the senators below:

Dear Mr. President,

The opioid epidemic is devastating our country and it is only growing worse. Newly released data from the CDC shows that we lost more than 42,000 people to an opioid-related overdose in 2016. That’s a 28% increase in overdose deaths compared to 2015 and a five-fold increase since 1999.[1] Put another way, we lost more than 115 people every day in 2016 to opioids. That is why it is critical that we immediately take every possible step and use every tool at our disposal to work to end this crisis.

On October 26, 2017, you declared a public health emergency with the goal of mobilizing federal resources and strengthening the federal response to the opioid epidemic. This emergency declaration expires on January 23, 2018. Unfortunately, we have seen too little action taken relative to the magnitude of the problem and urge you to immediately renew the opioid public health emergency declaration and to work with us to push for substantial funding to address the opioid crisis as part of the upcoming budget deal and omnibus negotiations.

Federal funding supports efforts to help stop the epidemic at every level. It is needed to prevent addiction, provide treatment to those with substance use disorders, fund overdose reversal treatments and harm mitigation efforts, strengthen law enforcement, and support efforts to care for the many children who are the unwitting victims of this disease.

That is why it is critical that we work together to provide every federal agency with the resources that they need to help our states overcome opioid use disorders. Too many in our communities are losing their lives, families, and futures to opioids and we need to be doing everything humanly possible to help them. 

We hope that you will immediately renew the opioid public health emergency and work with us to fight for the federal funding needed to adequately address this crisis.

Sincerely

Joe Donnelly (D-IN),

Joe Manchin (D-WV),

Sherrod Brown (D-OH),

Bob Casey (D-PA),

Claire McCaskill (D-MO),

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI),

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH),

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI),

Angus King (I-ME),

Ed Markey (D-MA),

Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) discussed some measures he's already helped push.
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