House Dems call on leadership to prioritize opioid epidemic

More than 60 House Democrats are urging leadership to make the opioid crisis a top priority in the new Congress. 

The Democrats said Congress should dedicate more funding and staff to addressing the crisis, which killed 47,600 people in 2017. 

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"At a time when our state and local partners are begging for federal assistance to combat the opioid crisis in their communities, Congress must answer the call through increased resources, creative solutions, and with more legislative staff," the Democrats wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiOn The Money: Trump teases 'major announcement' Saturday on shutdown | Fight with Dems intensifies | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking trip to Afghanistan | Mnuchin refuses to testify on shutdown impacts Ellen DeGeneres buys cheesecakes from furloughed federal workers who were baking to make ends meet Trump teases 'major announcement' about shutdown on Saturday MORE and Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDems revive impeachment talk after latest Cohen bombshell Laura Ingraham: Dems 'are all going to have to kiss Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's ring' Trump's battle with Pelosi intensifies MORE. "Dedicated staff across House committees capable of analyzing both the larger federal need and specifics from states and districts is necessary at this point." 

Congress passed a massive bill last session increasing access to treatment and recovery, but Democrats and some Republicans wanted more funding for the crisis. 

“Despite previous Congressional efforts to provide more resources to combat the opioid crisis to states and communities across this nation, there is much more to do,” said Rep. Marcy KapturMarcia (Marcy) Carolyn KapturOvernight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans House Dems call on leadership to prioritize opioid epidemic Lawmakers shrug off shutdown drama MORE (D-Ohio,), who led the letter, along with Reps. Ann KusterAnn McLane KusterHouse Dems call on leadership to prioritize opioid epidemic Dems introduce cyber workforce bill Influential Hispanic Republicans rally around underdog Garcia in NH MORE (D-N.H.) and Donald NorcrossDonald W. NorcrossHouse Dems call on leadership to prioritize opioid epidemic House lawmakers look to reassure Australia after Mattis resignation Dems demand answers on Pentagon not recognizing Pride Month MORE (D-N.J.).

"To build on local, regional, or state successes, it is vital we prioritize substantial and comprehensive measures and strategies."