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 1:53 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."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 22464

Reported Deaths: 942
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7540565
Ramsey2610103
Stearns198412
Nobles14883
Anoka126259
Dakota118244
Olmsted57510
Washington56230
Kandiyohi4751
Rice4112
Clay40625
Scott3792
Todd2960
Wright2691
Sherburne2192
Mower2161
Carver1852
Benton1692
Steele1480
Martin1265
Blue Earth1221
St. Louis11513
Freeborn970
Pine850
Winona7815
Nicollet747
Carlton730
Cottonwood650
Otter Tail620
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Watonwan590
Polk592
Crow Wing571
Itasca537
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Morrison400
Douglas390
Jackson390
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Lyon360
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Waseca240
Rock210
Swift170
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Mille Lacs171
Fillmore171
Wabasha170
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Beltrami130
Sibley130
Cass122
Norman110
Wilkin113
Kanabec111
Pipestone100
Marshall90
Pope80
Wadena80
Aitkin70
Koochiching70
Yellow Medicine60
Lincoln50
Renville50
Mahnomen51
Red Lake40
Traverse30
Big Stone30
Clearwater30
Redwood30
Grant30
Lac qui Parle30
Houston20
Lake10
Hubbard10
Roseau10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 18342

Reported Deaths: 496
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3876115
Woodbury265831
Black Hawk171343
Linn93876
Marshall87815
Dallas87317
Buena Vista6820
Johnson6058
Muscatine54741
Wapello5384
Crawford4882
Tama40026
Scott34610
Louisa33610
Dubuque33016
Jasper25716
Pottawattamie2277
Sioux2100
Washington1858
Wright1240
Allamakee1194
Plymouth1191
Warren1140
Story961
Poweshiek888
Mahaska888
Bremer676
Henry671
Clinton601
Des Moines581
Boone560
Taylor480
Cedar461
Guthrie443
Clarke400
Benton391
Jones360
Iowa360
Monroe354
Shelby350
Clayton313
Buchanan310
Osceola310
Marion300
Webster291
Hamilton280
Madison261
Fayette260
Monona240
Lee230
Cherokee230
Winneshiek230
Cerro Gordo221
Davis200
Jefferson190
Harrison190
Lyon190
Grundy190
Floyd181
Sac170
Mills160
Hardin150
Butler150
Delaware150
Humboldt140
Ida140
Keokuk140
Hancock140
Appanoose133
Jackson130
Dickinson130
Clay130
Greene130
Howard120
Audubon121
Winnebago110
Cass110
Page100
Van Buren90
Franklin90
Carroll90
Pocahontas90
Chickasaw80
Emmet80
Unassigned80
Kossuth80
Adair70
Adams70
Lucas70
Union60
Montgomery60
Mitchell50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
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Calhoun20
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