Lawmakers react to Trump's opioid epidemic declaration - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Lawmakers react to Trump's opioid epidemic declaration

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(WVVA) -

Lawmakers representing the Two Virginias weighed-in on President Trump's decision to declare the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said the President's declaration "draws attention to the urgency of the crisis" and makes it easier for federal agencies to help treat people addicted to opiates. 

 "West Virginia has suffered so much because of the opioid epidemic," said Sen. Capito. "We have lost friends, neighbors and family members, and we have seen entire communities torn apart by its devastating consequences. Today, the president took a significant step forward in helping us fight this growing epidemic by declaring it a national public health emergency."

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin also applauded the President's decision "to take important steps to fight the opioid epidemic."  

"West Virginia faces unique challenges in the crisis, especially the rural areas in our state," said Sen. Manchin. "The expansion of telemedicine to these areas is a game changer and will allow people struggling with substance use disorder the ability to receive opioid treatment prescriptions without seeing a doctor, which is a huge hurdle for many West Virginians. A large part of recovery and becoming a contributing member of society is finding meaningful employment and President Trump’s expansion of the Dislocated Workers Grants will help people who are struggling to find work because of their disorder, which works with the goals of my Clean Start Act. This public health declaration is a great step and I look forward to working with the President to put real funding behind these changes.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine was glad President Trump "is drawing attention to this crisis," Kaine called for more funding.

“We should be doing everything we can to tackle the opioid epidemic that’s hurting communities across Virginia,” Senator Tim Kaine said. “I’m glad the President is drawing attention to this crisis today and taking initial steps to address this public health emergency, but without funding, this won’t do nearly enough. I’m disappointed that President Trump isn’t pushing for the resources we need to end the opioid epidemic – which is killing nearly 100 people every day --  and that Republicans passed a budget that would cut funding to treat opioid addiction. President Trump should start working with Congress to fund this fight.”  

U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins said Trump's announcement was "an important step on the road to recovery for our nation."

“President Trump shared a powerful message – a call to action to save lives and stop the scourge of drug addiction," said Rep. Jenkins. "The president is committed to tackling the disease of addiction and stopping the flow of illegal drugs into our country. I also appreciate the first lady’s highlight of the good work being done at Lily’s Place in Huntington and how we can help these newborns as part of a comprehensive drug strategy."

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