Claire McCaskill pens letter to President to work on opioid epidemic solutions

Noting their shared commitment to curbing the opioid epidemic gripping communities across Missouri, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) wrote to President Donald Trump and raised concerns about resources for that effort.

“Given your remarks during your campaign for presidency and your recent establishment of a White House commission on opioids, I am encouraged that our goals in stopping this crisis are the same — to help as many afflicted by this crisis through effective, strategic planning and implementation,” McCaskill wrote in a letter to President Trump. “… There is no question that it is going to take all levels of government to fight this public health crisis in our country and I am committed to working with you and your Administration to do everything we can to stop the endemic in its tracks.”

McCaskill noted recent reports that the Administration is proposing a 95 percent cut to the budget for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which provides assistance and technical expertise to strategically combat overdoses and engage in public awareness campaigns. Additionally, McCaskill raised concerns that a recent executive order to sunset the White House Rural Council, which coordinated efforts to address the opioid epidemic in rural areas, and cuts to Medicaid in the America Health Care Act which was recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives—could have devastating impacts on Missourians.

McCaskill announced a wide-ranging investigation into opioid manufacturers last month to explore whether pharmaceutical manufacturers — at the head of the opioids pipeline — have contributed to opioid overutilization and overprescription as overdose deaths in the last fifteen years have approached nearly 200,000. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, reached over 30,000 in 2015 alone, and sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999.