Local officials react after Trump declares opioids a public health emergency

This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s Attorney General responded to the president’s address Thursday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

“I’m pleased the president has joined the fight but I’m also pessimistic until I see real action at the federal level,” AG Hector Balderas said. “I have certain counties today who have addicted babies at 10 times the national level.”

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan also responded to President Trump’s declaration.

They both released statements expressing disappointment that the president did not declare a “national emergency” or provide any significant new funding.

Sen. Tom Udall issued the following statement:

“Every day in New Mexico and across the country, 100 people will die in the opioid epidemic. New Mexico families already know this is an emergency – they need resources and results. While I welcome any action to combat this crisis, this declaration falls far short of what President Trump’s own commission called for and what he himself repeatedly promised to families that have faced untold pain and suffering at the hands of the opioid epidemic.

“Experts have plainly said over and over again that states and local communities can win the battle against addiction, but only if we invest real resources and action — not just lip service. We must ensure that anyone who wants treatment can get it, and that means funding the prevention, treatment and enforcement programs that work. But it also takes a strong economy and access to quality health care, including behavioral health services, to stop the cycle of addiction. President Trump and Republicans’ efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, decimate Medicaid, and reject new funding for the opioid crisis just take us backward. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ll keep fighting for the comprehensive addiction and enforcement resources we need to fight the opioid emergency, as well as health care for all, quality education and jobs to lift up all of our communities.”

“Americans need bold action on this epidemic. If the Trump administration is serious about saving lives, they need to actively seek and support major new funding for this national emergency in congressional appropriations before the end of the year.”

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan issued the following statement:

“Today’s emergency declaration by the President may bring more awareness to the issue, but it does not solve the problem nor fully address the challenges faced by millions of Americans impacted by the opioid crisis. This declaration provides no new funding and no new treatment or prevention strategies.

If the President were truly serious about making a difference in this fight, he would not be pushing a budget that cuts nearly a trillion dollars from Medicaid or slashing the budgets of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and other health services that are essential in helping people fight and treat addiction.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich issued the following statement:

“The opioid and heroin addiction epidemic is a national crisis that has been deeply felt by New Mexicans. Too many families have lost loved ones and many more are struggling to find treatment and recovery resources for a father, mother, son, daughter, or for themselves.

“This half measure falls far short of President Trump’s own opioid commission’s recommendations to provide the necessary funds to combat this devastating health crisis. If President Trump is truly taking the opioid epidemic seriously, then he and Republicans in Congress should stop repeatedly trying to upend the nation’s health care system and slash Medicaid funding, which pays for 30 percent of opioid medication-assisted treatment in New Mexico.

“We know that evidence based treatment works, but we have to devote real resources to pay for it. Empty promises will not give our communities and families struggling with opioid addiction the opportunity to receive comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation so they can turn their lives around and help their communities heal in the process.”

Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham issued the following statement:

“Today’s emergency declaration by the President may bring more awareness to the issue, but it does not solve the problem nor fully address the challenges faced by millions of Americans impacted by the opioid crisis. This declaration provides no new funding and no new treatment or prevention strategies.

If the President were truly serious about making a difference in this fight, he would not be pushing a budget that cuts nearly a trillion dollars from Medicaid or slashing the budgets of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and other health services that are essential in helping people fight and treat addiction.”

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