Courtesy image of drug paraphernalia.
Luján Urges White House To Support Drug Addiction Treatment and Prevention
The New Mexico Congressional delegation has been fighting many of the policy goals coming from the new Trump Administration, but amid the turmoil currently emanating from Washington, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) who represents northern New Mexico, found one item he strongly supports. Tuesday afternoon President Donald Trump signed an executive order creating a new national “Opioid Commission”. In the press announcement, the President appointed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to chair the commission with the goal to examine ways to reduce the epidemic of addiction and deaths that are ravaging many places in the nation, including northern New Mexico.
By Friday Congressman Luján (D-NM) sent a letter to Governor Christie, the head of the new White House Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, urging him to prioritize funding for drug treatment and prevention initiatives as the commission begins its work.
Both Luján’s and Christie’s home states of New Mexico and New Jersey have been deeply impacted by the opioid abuse problem, with both states listed in the top third of all states in terms of drug-related deaths. New Jersey also had one of the highest increases in drug overdoses in recent years, which indicates the problem is growing worse there.
Luján wrote: “Congress took an important first step to address the opioid abuse epidemic by providing additional resources to states to support treatment and prevention . . . Congress has already delivered the first portion of this funding, $500 million for the 2017 fiscal year. We must build on this progress by ensuring a seamless path forward for the next $500 million.
Last Congress, Luján introduced legislation which called for additional resources for treatment and prevention programs to address the opioid abuse problem. He was instrumental in securing the first installment of federal funding for 2017 and is now fighting to secure the second installment of $500 million, or even increase funding to combat the drug abuse problem in 2018.
The letter goes on to say: “Multiple generations of Americans have been hurt by this crisis because we have historically failed to make the necessary investments in treatment and prevention . . . I stand ready to work with you on this important issue, but I feel strongly that the problem demands more than rhetoric and good intentions – we need action and we need resources if we are to turn the corner on this crisis.”
[text of letter available HERE]