Congressman Tim Ryan Calls On President Trump to Declare Opioid Epidemic a Public Health Emergency

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan calls on to President Donald Trump to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, to declare the opioid addiction crisis a Public Health Emergency. This authority is granted to Secretary Price under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act. Such a declaration would free up federal funds for communities struggling to cope with this ongoing addiction epidemic.

Congressman Tim Ryan is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Addiction Treatment and Recover Caucus and member of the Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, and ending the opioid and prescription drug epidemic remains one of his top priorities.

“We lose 144 people every day to drug overdoses in the United States. Drug overdose deaths are now the number one cause of accidental death in our nation. In 2015, we lost over 52,000 Americans to this terrible epidemic.  We can no longer turn a blind eye to the catastrophic nature of this ongoing crisis. That is why I call on [President Trump] to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid epidemic a Public Health Emergency,” wrote Congressman Ryan.

Full letter can be viewed here.

Rep. Ryan Legislative Actions:

·In the 114th Congress, Rep. Ryan joined Senator Portman, Senator Whitehouse, and Congressman Sensenbrenner in introducing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which leverages evidence-based law enforcement and health care services, including treatment that can be used to stop and reverse current trends. On July 22, 2016 CARA was signed into law.

·Rep. Ryan led a letter urging President Trump to include $9.3 billion in his Fiscal  Year 2018 budget for 34 Administration programs at Department of Health and Human Services, Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Justice.

·Rep. Ryan introduced the Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act – increase penalties for fentanyl trafficking

·Rep. Ryan introduced the STOP OD Act – which is designed to help stop synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers in the United States

·Rep. Ryan introduced the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act – which takes important steps to bring states closer to fully interoperable Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), to faster respond to inquiries and to better serve the public.

·In 114th Congress, Rep. Ryan joined Congresswoman Marcia Fudge in introducing the Breaking Addiction Act, which takes steps to increase access to treatment by making changes to the IMD exclusion for substance abuse facilities.

Key Ohio and National  Addiction Statistics:

National Statistics:

  • In 2015, drug overdose deaths continued to climb to more than 52,000; by comparison, 38,000 people died due to automobile accidents in 2015.
  • Opioids were the main driver of overdose deaths, accounting for more than 33,000 fatalities.
  • 144 individuals are lost on average every day in the U.S. to drug overdoses.
  • In 2013, an estimated 22.7 million Americans needed treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol, but only about 2.5 million people (0.9 percent) received treatment at a specialty facility.

Ohio Statistics:

  • Since 2007, fatal drug overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental death in our state.
  • Fatal drug overdoses now exceed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio.
  • In Trumbull County, there were 73 overdoses in January, 45 overdoses in February, and 189 overdoeses in March.
  • In Summit County, we saw an 11.3 percent increase over 2015, with at least 225 deaths caused by drug overdoses in 2016.
  • In 2014, Ohio led the nation with 2,106 opioid overdoses.
  • Ohio is suffering from an increase in usage of lethal fentanyl and carfentanil.