New York Senator Schumer Demands Opioid Commission to Get its Act Together
Charles Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, recently called on the President’s ‘Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis’ for creating a program that will help save struggling addicts in the country.
The senator was reported saying that he had never witnessed a worse scenario with such a significant percentage of the American population affected by drugs heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, and so on). He also highlighted the number of unfortunate deaths caused by overdoses as a result of the opioid epidemic.
Missed deadlines: Schumer
According to Schumer, the opioid commission under the newly elected US President has been delaying the development of a proper scheme that will help combat the rather serious drug problem in the nation.
He added that two deadlines for presenting a drug-addiction fighting plan had already been missed by the Trump administration. Schumer believes that the opioid epidemic is nothing short of a “national emergency”.
Instead of working on a strategy for battling the drug epidemic in the country, The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is conducting additional literature reviews and hearings, reported Schumer. He said that this delay in finding a solution was a matter of resistance, not partisanship.
The powerful comments by Schumer are a follow up to the letter that was signed by him and nineteen other Senate officials. This letter was sent to Richard Baum, temporary director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and pushed him to look into critical initiatives that may help provide quicker relief to the several million Americans battling severe drug addiction. The content of the letter critiqued the laid back attitude of the commission with regards to executing recommendations to fight the opioid epidemic. These recommendations were given by retired Surgeon General Vivek Murthy back in 2016.
The co-signers of the letter expressed their concern about the fact that while the Commission was making an effort to address the problem of drug addiction, there was a major delay in implementing the already available recommendations. The Senate Democrats also took the liberty to criticize Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The criticism was due to the fact that he had termed medication-based treatment for addressing opioid dependency (for example, with methadone or suboxone as “substitution of one drug with another”. Nearly 700 science and medical experts stepped in to correct this statement by Price. They said that medication had been utilized as a standard treatment for managing drug addiction for several years. Also, there was enough scientific proof to show that medicine-based treatment is, in fact, effective in addressing addiction.
Trump fails to live up to his initial claims
An executive order was signed by Trump in the month of March 2017 that allowed for the creation of the commission. It is chaired by the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. The commission’s panel was directed to work in close association with the White House Office of American Innovation led by Jared Kushner, son-in-law to President Trump.
At the time when the commission was launched, Trump said that the epidemic in question is merciless and without any boundaries. He had promised that the commission would have immense compassion for the struggling addicts and work together to resolve this life-threatening problem in the country.
In June 2017, Schumer made an announcement to support a key initiative led by the University Of Rochester School Of Medicine and Monroe County. The initiative is aimed at creating a one-of-a-kind FP (forensic pathologists) fellowship program, away from New York City, for addressing the lack of sufficient forensic pathologists in the country needed to fight the opioid epidemic.