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Trump’s Plan to Address Opioid Epidemic Does Not Go Far Enough to Support Struggling Mainers

In Advance of President’s Afternoon Opioid Briefing, Maine’s First District Congresswoman Joined House Members Demanding Action on Opioid Crisis

PORTLAND, ME—Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and several of her House colleagues have sent a letter to President Trump calling on him to address the opioid epidemic raging in their states. The letter comes after the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis missed two self-imposed deadlines then finally released its initial findings. The letter, signed by Representatives Chellie Pingree, Annie Kuster (NH-02), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Seth Moulton (MA-06), and Marcia Fudge (OH-11), outlines the need to increase funding for treatment and recovery services, as well as cease efforts to roll back access to health insurance.
“Not enough Mainers are getting the treatment they need. Over the last year, one person a day has died in Maine from a drug-related overdose,” said Congresswoman Pingree said of the letter. “President Trump’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, block grant Medicaid, and cut public health funding would worsen, not improve, the state of substance use disorder in Maine.”
The Members wrote in their letter to the President, “While we appreciate that the Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis led by Governor Chris Christie finally released its interim report on July 31st, we remain concerned that the Trump Administration has not done enough to prioritize the opioid epidemic.” 
“…we request that you immediately call on Congress to provide emergency appropriations to combat the opioid epidemic and to cease their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” the Members continued. “Without addressing these two areas of concern, an effective response to this 21st Century public health emergency will be inadequate.
“We are all concerned by the impact of this epidemic on our communities across the country and across all demographics. We are prepared to work with you to help fulfill your campaign promise to ‘end the opioid epidemic in America.’ Without bipartisan legislative action, the recommendations outlined by your Commission’s interim report will remain unfulfilled.”
The full text of the letter is available here.

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