Boston (March 19, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement today as President Donald Trump travels to New Hampshire to announce his initiative to stop opioid abuse and reduce drug supply and demand.
“After insulting its residents by once calling New Hampshire a ‘drug-infested den’, President Trump returns to the state with an opioid plan full of broken promises and failed policies,” said Senator Markey. “Extreme proposals like using the death penalty only perpetuate a harmful stigma associated with opioid use disorders and divert attention from meaningful discussions and progress on expanding access to treatment, recovery, and other public health initiatives that are critical to saving lives. We will not incarcerate or execute our way out of the opioid epidemic. We are still paying the price for one failed War on Drugs, and now President Trump has drawn up battle plans for another.
“New England’s law enforcement professionals are a national model for their partnerships with the treatment and recovery community to ensure patients are provided compassion, not a cell. They know we need more treatment, not more toughness. This country urgently needs a comprehensive strategy that treats opioid addiction like the national public health emergency it is and focuses on effective solutions, not the failed policies of the past.”
Senator Markey is co-author of the provision in the 2016 law that expands the availability of medication-assisted therapies (MAT) such as buprenorphine (also called Suboxone) by allowing, for the first time, physicians assistants and nurse practitioners to prescribe the life-saving treatment, as well as increasing the number of patients health professionals can prescribe to from 100 to 275. In January, Senators Markey, Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act, legislation that would further expand access to MAT by making this authorization permanent and expanding the types of professionals who qualify.