Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Norcross Reacts to Trump Declaring Opioid Epidemic a ‘Public Health Emergency’

Oct 26, 2017
News Release
Norcross is Vice-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross, Vice-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, issued the following statement as President Donald Trump declares the opioid epidemic a ‘public health emergency’:

“The fact that the opioid epidemic is a national emergency has long been painfully obvious to the millions of families across America with a family member who is struggling with, or has been lost to, addiction. The President vowed to make this declaration 77 days ago while playing golf in New Jersey and, sadly, every delay means more loved ones across our country are dying.

“I talk to people in South Jersey every day who know we can’t wait, who know press conferences are not enough. I talk to law enforcement experts who say we can't arrest our way out of this problem and medical experts who explain addiction is not a personal choice, but a disease. And while I stand ready to work together, I know we also have to be honest about the issue.

“Now, it’s up to Congress and the Administration to put actions behind words, funding behind promises. We must fill the Public Health Emergency Fund or provide emergency appropriations immediately. Let’s work together in Congress to advance our Task Force’s bipartisan proposals to help those struggling with the disease of addiction and to provide the resources for the emergency fund. We must come together to save lives.”

Since President Trump said he would be declaring the opioid epidemic a national emergency on August 10, 2017, approximately 16,500 Americans have likely passed away as a result of a drug overdose.*

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*This figure was calculated using the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s statistics, specifically the number of overdose deaths expected in 2017 based on the 22% proportional rise in deaths between 2015 and 2016.

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Contact: Ally Kehoe, Communications Director
ally.kehoe@mail.house.gov