Christie: Trump's opioid declaration 'exactly what we asked for'

Christie: Trump's opioid declaration 'exactly what we asked for'
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday praised President Trump’s decision to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, calling it “exactly what we asked for.”

“The president, what he did today gives this Cabinet and the executive branch of this government every bit of authority they need to do whatever it is they want to do in concert with Congress to be able to do what needs to be done,” Christie told CNN following a ceremony at the White House.

In mid-August, Trump said his administration was drafting paperwork to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, but on Thursday made the distinction of calling it a public health emergency.

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While the measure won’t free up much additional funding, it will increase access to medications for those in remote areas; allow for the shifting of resources within HIV/AIDS programs to help people eligible for those programs to receive substance use disorder treatments; and more.

“We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic,” Trump said, calling it the worst drug crisis in U.S. history.

Christie, who has long sounded the alarm on the nation’s opioid crisis, was appointed earlier this year to head the president’s task force on the issue. The commission recommended that the president declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.

“By using the Public Health Service Act, as we recommended, the president is showing an unprecedented commitment to fighting this epidemic and placing the weight of the presidency behind saving lives across the country,” Christie said in a statement earlier Thursday.

Christie said the commission will issue another set of comprehensive recommendations to the president on Wednesday.

On Monday, New Jersey’s outgoing governor denied a report in The Washington Post that he'd told a fellow task force member if Trump doesn’t deliver on opioids “his presidency is over.”