House Dems call on leadership to prioritize opioid epidemic

More than 60 House Democrats are urging leadership to make the opioid crisis a top priority in the new Congress. 

The Democrats said Congress should dedicate more funding and staff to addressing the crisis, which killed 47,600 people in 2017. 

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"At a time when our state and local partners are begging for federal assistance to combat the opioid crisis in their communities, Congress must answer the call through increased resources, creative solutions, and with more legislative staff," the Democrats wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE and Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerSenators say they've reached deal on Puerto Rico aid 5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations GOP lawmaker: Trump has engaged in multiple actions that 'meet the threshold for impeachment' MORE. "Dedicated staff across House committees capable of analyzing both the larger federal need and specifics from states and districts is necessary at this point." 

Congress passed a massive bill last session increasing access to treatment and recovery, but Democrats and some Republicans wanted more funding for the crisis. 

“Despite previous Congressional efforts to provide more resources to combat the opioid crisis to states and communities across this nation, there is much more to do,” said Rep. Marcy KapturMarcia (Marcy) Carolyn KapturDems walk Trump trade tightrope Democrats advance spending bills boosting EPA, defying Trump House Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut MORE (D-Ohio,), who led the letter, along with Reps. Ann KusterAnn McLane KusterRepublicans troll Democrats with proposals to rename upcoming health care bill This week: Fight brews over Mueller testimony GOP lawmaker draws backlash for telling Democratic colleague to 'shut up' during heated ObamaCare debate MORE (D-N.H.) and Donald NorcrossDonald W. NorcrossBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements New Jersey Dems tell Pentagon not to use military funds for border wall Rep. Beyer: What I learned In Central America MORE (D-N.J.).

"To build on local, regional, or state successes, it is vital we prioritize substantial and comprehensive measures and strategies."