Congressman Tim Ryan Statement on President Trump Preparing to Declare Opioid Epidemic a National Emergency

Youngstown, OH – Congressman Tim Ryan released the following statement regarding reports that President Trump was readying to declare the opioid addiction epidemic a national public health emergency. In April of this year, Congressman Ryan urged President Trump to make this declaration. Just this week Congressman Ryan with other members of the House redoubled their call for decisive executive action to combat this disaster. Ryan is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Addiction Treatment and Recover Caucus and member of the Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic. Ending the opioid and prescription drug epidemic remains one of his top priorities.

“The opioid epidemic has been a national crisis in this country long before today. In every state, city, and town in the United States families and lives have been pulled apart by the devastating effects of addiction, and they need our help. In 2015, 52,404 Americans died from overdoses; that’s 142 a day. I called on the President to declare an emergency months ago, and have been dismayed by the slow pace of progress on this pressing issue since. Just yesterday, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services wrongfully indicated such a declaration might be unnecessary. I am alarmed at what appears to be a dangerously uncoordinated response to the emergency unfolding in front of our eyes. The President must formally issue this order as soon as possible, and Republicans in Congress must move swiftly to appropriate federal funding to the Public Health Emergency Fund.  The American people demand that the President and Congress rise to this occasion without delay,” said Congressman Ryan.

A declaration of a public health emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act would make federal funds available for communities struggling to cope with this ongoing addiction epidemic.

Other Opioid Addiciton Legislative Actions by Congressman Ryan:

·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 115th 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. Under current law, the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion prohibits Medicaid matching payments for services provided in treatment facilities that have more than 16 beds.  The Breaking Addiction Act removes this outdated policy, allowing states to better utilize Medicaid to serve more people.