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Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins Responds to President Trump’s Announcement Today on Opioid Crisis (10/26/17)

“Several years ago, Bernalillo County families affected by opioid addiction warned elected officials that the tsunami of opioid use in America was a looming, catastrophic threat to public health – a threat more ominous than any health crisis in the history of this nation. Sadly, that warning has come true and it’s a heartbreaking reality that opioid overdose has become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States and the misery and carnage continue.

We welcome the President’s acknowledgement of the magnitude and seriousness of this problem.  Those of us in local government have seen first-hand the devastation of opioid abuse in our community and the enormous human and financial costs of this epidemic.  Drug addiction is a disease that is tearing families apart, straining our economy, healthcare, and criminal justice systems, and endangering the lives and futures of young people.

In April 2016, the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners proclaimed the opioid overdose epidemic in Bernalillo County to be a public health emergency demanding immediate, diverse responses grounded in good public health principles, prevention, and patient care practices.  We have dedicated significant resources to building partnerships and funding initiatives that address the complex, long-term challenges of the opioid crisis here.  But we can’t do it alone.  We look forward to working with our federal delegation and leaders in the Trump administration to make sure that today’s announcement is not an empty gesture but a sincere commitment followed by the concrete policy changes and federal funding desperately needed to turn the tide in this epidemic.”