Bill Clinton issues warning on opioid crisis: ‘It’s going to eat us all alive’

Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonWhy did it take so long for Trump to drain the swamp of Pruitt? An orthodox legal life and the case for Judge Kavanaugh Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE addressed the opioid and drug crisis on Saturday, telling mayors from across the country that the U.S. is far behind in dealing with the issue.

“It’s going to eat us all alive,” the former president warned at the U.S. Mayor’s Conference in Miami.

“We all have to acknowledge that we should have seen more of this before. But what we have to acknowledge now is that we have a chance to deal with this in a comprehensive way, and we’re not close,” the former president said.

The issue has remained a top concern for lawmakers, with Senate Republicans facing criticism that proposed cuts to Medicaid in their bill unveiled this week to repeal and replace ObamaCare could exacerbate the national epidemic.

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While the legislation reserves $2 billion to help people deal with substance abuse and addiction, critics say the major cuts to Medicaid spending would not help the crisis, and the $2 billion fund would not make up for the cuts.

Republicans including Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have expressed concerns over the bill's Medicaid cuts.

“I’m proud of the Republican governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, for being one of the very first governors to take to Medicaid expansion because he knew that he depended upon young workers, many of whom were here as the first of their generation,” Clinton said Saturday.

Sandoval and fellow Nevada Republican Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Jacky Rosen hits Dean Heller over health care in first negative ad GOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh MORE have expressed deep concerns about the Senate GOP legislation due to Medicaid cuts.

Heller on Friday became the fifth Senate Republican to announce his opposition to the bill, further complicating GOP leaders's plans to get the legislation through the upper chamber.