Tags: chris christie | opioid | addiction

Chris Christie: Opioid Addiction the 'AIDS Epidemic of Our Generation'


By    |   Friday, 27 October 2017 10:44 AM

President Donald Trump took an important step Thursday by declaring the nation's opioid addiction crisis as a national public health emergency, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who heads the president's commission on the issue, said Friday, while calling the crisis the "AIDS epidemic of our generation, but even worse."

"We said two options, to [either] declare a national emergency under the Public Health Safety Act or the Stafford Act, which is for hurricanes, and he chose the first one," Christie told CNN's "New Day" program. 

"We believe it's a health crisis and Health and Human Services has to be the emergency coordinating the response," he added. "The president did exactly what we asked him to do yesterday and now it's up to Congress to step up and put funds into the emergency fund."

The crisis is "awful," said Christie, when comparing it to the AIDS epidemic. "We consume 85 percent of all the opioids in the world in this country. We are the most medicated country in the world, and it's unnecessary. What it has led to now is the 64,000 deaths last year. This is the medical crisis of our time."

The governor also said he wonders why nobody seem to be protesting.

"I am old enough to remember the marches by AIDS patients and people that cared about that issue, in Washington, in state capitals, demanding action," said Christie. "These families need to be supported and that's what the commission is all about."

Trump, said Christie, was "speaking from the heart" about how addiction affects not only families around the country, but his own family. During his address, Trump spoke of his older brother, Fred, an alcoholic who died at the age of 43.

Christie pointed out that one of the main things changing, which has not been reported much, is that Trump said he will waive older Medicaid rules that leave thousands of treatment beds empty.

"Federal Medicaid won't match the state funds because of an old rule about psychiatric hospitals," said Christie. "In my state alone, we have seven to 900 empty beds that could be filled by the poor Medicaid recipients that need the treatment but can't get it because the federal government won't pay their share, and now they will."

In addition, said Christie, Trump called for requiring doctors to get continuing medical education that will teach them how to treat addictions, not just prescribe opioids.

The president wasn't just focusing on telling people to say no to drugs, Christie insisted, but it is "how you teach people about what is happening."

"Four out of every five of heroin addicts start with prescription opioids," said Christie. "What we need to start telling people, just because it's in the medicine cabinet doesn't mean it's safe for you, and just because you get 30 pills you don't have to take them."

National Take Back Day will be observed on Saturday, said Christie, which will allow Americans to turn in unused medications to fire stations.

Meanwhile, Christie told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" that it will likely take tens of billions of dollars over the next few years to help bring the opioid crisis under control and to increase treatments.

Money also will be needed for interdiction programs to stop fentanyl, which is resulting in thousands of overdoses, from coming into the United States from China, said the governor.

Christie told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program that he feels the legalization of marijuana will further increase opioid abuse.

"The parents buy the marijuana and 12, 13, 14-year-old kids start smoking it, and at that age, it rewires the brain," he said. "I don't want anybody to think I am comparing opioids to marijuana. I'm saying also when you have more and more Americans . . .

"I mean, the numbers are staggering, that are on drugs for psychiatric needs, and you start mixing those with possibly opioids or a heavy dose of marijuana, suddenly you are talking about the overmedication of America, and suddenly something that should be cool and I'm okay and you're okay, gets thrown into a toxic brew."


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President Donald Trump took an important step Thursday by declaring the nation's opioid addiction crisis as a national public health emergency, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie...
chris christie, opioid, addiction
Friday, 27 October 2017 10:44 AM
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