Senator calls for Trump to implement recommendations and back emergency declaration with emergency funding request to address crisis

Washington (November 1, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement today after the White House opioid commission issued its final report of recommendations to combat the opioid crisis. The report includes a total of 56 recommendations, ranging from requiring that all opioid prescribers receive mandatory education on safe prescribing practices to the utilization of technologies to expand efforts to intercept illicit fentanyl. Last week, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency but did not urge Congress to appropriate additional funding to help states and local communities respond to this exploding epidemic.

“The White House opioid commission has put forth a set of sensible policies, but these recommendations will be little more than ink on paper unless the President requests a specific amount of funding for the federal government and states to implement them,” said Senator Markey. “The American public, and especially those families suffering in this crisis, need more than just a list of actions from a commission; they need a commitment to action. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to combat the opioid epidemic, but President Trump must show leadership and dedicate resources to address this scourge.”
Senator Markey and Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) introduced the Combatting the Opioid Epidemic Act, which would invest $45 billion for prevention, detection, monitoring, and treatment of opioid misuse and use disorders. Senate Republicans proposed providing that same amount for the crisis as part of their Better Care Reconciliation Act in July.

This summer, Senator Markey reintroduced the Safe Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act (S.1554) with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.). The legislation requires that all prescribers applying for or renewing a federal license with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prescribe controlled substances, such as prescription painkillers, complete mandatory education that will help encourage responsible prescribing practices. This policy recommendation was included in the commission’s interim and final reports.

Also, in March, Senator Markey was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) in introducing the INTERDICT Act (S.708), legislation that would provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection tools such as hi-tech chemical screening devices to help detect and interdict fentanyl and other illicit synthetic opioids. The U.S. House of Representatives passed companion legislation, introduced by Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-03), last week.