Lawmakers step off Capitol Hill to explore solutions to opioid crisis

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met at Johns Hopkins Hospital Tuesday for an “in the field” hearing on the growing opioid crisis in America.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in March 2017 establishing a President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, with Governor Chris Christie, R–N.J., as chairman. The purpose of the commission was to study ways to combat the ongoing crisis while working in conjunction with the White House Office of American Innovation, led by Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner.

“This is an epidemic that knows no boundaries and shows no mercy, and we will show great compassion and resolve as we work together on this important issue,” Trump said.

In October, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency.

“This epidemic is a national health emergency, unlike many of us we’ve seen and what we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Nobody has seen anything like what’s going on now,” Trump said.

More than 90 Americans die every day from related opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. At least 40 of those deaths are from prescription opioids.

The Centers for Disease Control estimated 64,000 people could die from drug overdose in 2016.

Breaking with tradition, Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-M.D., gave his opening remarks first as the committee was meeting in his home state. He commented on the number of lawmakers who turned out for the hearing off Capitol grounds.

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