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Opioid commission member says group's work is a 'sham'
A member of President Trump's opioid commission said he believes the group's work is a "sham."
Former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy (R.I.) told CNN that its members are "willing to tolerate the intolerable - and not do anything about it."
"I'm as cynical as I've ever been about this stuff," he said.
Earlier this month, the administration extended the opioid public health emergency issued by Trump days before the declaration was set to expire.
Last October, Trump announced he was declaring the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. The move was without precedent, as such declarations had in the past been reserved for natural disasters and the outbreak of infectious diseases.
Kennedy called the administration's efforts to address the epidemic "tantamount to reshuffling chairs on the Titanic."
"The emergency declaration has accomplished little because there's no funding behind it. You can't expect to stem the tide of a public health crisis that is claiming over 64,000 lives per year without putting your money where your mouth is," he said.
He said he thinks the group's work is a "charade."
"It means nothing if it has no funding to push it forward. ... In the context of this tax bill, this thing's a charade," he said, referring to the GOP tax bill passed in December.
"I have to be true to the way I feel: This is essentially a sham."
He also accused Trump of "playing politics instead of pursuing solutions for issues that impact the lives of Americans."
"For people and families struggling with addiction in this epidemic," he said, "it's essentially been a government shutdown from the start."