Delaware Public Media

Sen. Coons welcomes more federal action on opioid crisis

Aug 11, 2017

President Trump says he’s moving to declare a national emergency on the opioid epidemic in the U.S. 

This comes after criticism from Democrats that the president has not done enough on the issue. President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis recommended the emergency declaration. But whether he would accept the recommendation was unclear earlier in the week.

Sen. Chris Coons said he’s happy the president was briefed on the crisis this week and he looks forward to more leadership on this issue.

“It’s my hope that President Trump will be more engaged, be more active on this issue nationally, whether or not it required a declaration of emergency as opposed to other serious steps," he said. "You know, I’ll leave that judgment to the president.”

Coons says Congress has appropriated funding to battle the opioid crisis in legislation passed last year.

“We passed and the last president signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act," he said. "This year, we’ve passed funding to help now implement that bill.”

That measure, signed by former President Barack Obama, expands treatment options, diversion programs and medication-assisted treatment. But the Trump administration is pushing for tougher criminal penalties.