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Walker Praises Declaration of Opioid Epidemic as Public Health Emergency: "More Action is Clearly Needed"

October 27, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration's announcement that they will declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency:

“I am thankful the President has taken this important step in empowering federal agencies to refocus their efforts towards combatting the opioid crisis. Congress has passed laws that provide resources to confront this epidemic, but as we learned last week in our Opioid Crisis Tour throughout North Carolina, more action is clearly needed. We will remain committed to working with local law enforcement, first responders, and local government to stop the overwhelming hardship this is causing to the families of our community.”

According to Roll Call, "the declaration would direct all federal agencies to make the crisis their number one priority. It would include awareness and prevention programs and allow the federal government to work with states to redistribute already-available grants that support substance abuse efforts."

Last week, Walker hosted a two-day, seven-stop opioid crisis tour across North Carolina to better understand the full scope of the opioid epidemic and to get a firsthand account of the realities, burdens, and struggles of opioid addiction in North Carolina. Read more about the Opioid Crisis Tour in a story in the Washington Examiner here. 

As the story notes, "since 1999, opioid-related deaths in North Carolina have increased by 800 percent, nationwide drug overdoses now kill more Americans than gun homicides and car crashes combined."

In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids. Since 2000, over 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids.

You can learn more about the opioid epidemic and Walker's Opioid Crisis Tour by watching the videos below: