Larsen to President Trump: Robust Federal Funding Needed to Address Opioid Epidemic

Oct 31, 2017 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) called on President Trump to work with Congress to allocate new, robust federal funding to address the opioid epidemic and implement evidence-based policies to effectively safeguard public health. Larsen sent a letter to the President expressing concern that declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency without additional new federal funding falls short of addressing the problem.

“For far too long, the scourge of opioid addiction has devastated the lives of millions of Americans; disrupting families and destabilizing communities across the country. Unfortunately, this is not a new issue for Washington state. For generations, our communities have struggled to meet the growing needs of individuals seeking life-saving treatment and recovery services.

“When the President declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, instead of a national emergency, and failed to allocate additional new federal funding he only hurt the problem.

“I’ve met with law enforcement, healthcare providers, advocates, community leaders, individuals in recovery, and elected officials across my district on the opioid epidemic. Their stories show an immediate need for comprehensive medication-assisted treatment, increased awareness and availability of naloxone and other overdose-reversal tools, and prevention activities such as syringe exchange and safe drug take-back programs.

“These steps would start to improve the coordination of the opioid epidemic response efforts across all levels of government. I call on President Trump to work with Congress and our partners to allocate new, robust federal funding to address this crisis.

Read Larsen’s full letter HERE.

In 2015 alone, the number of overdose deaths in Washington state exceeded the number deaths from car accidents or by firearms. In July 2017, Snohomish County had 37 opioid-related overdoses in just one week–ten of which occurred on a single day.