BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Members of Congress were in Baltimore Tuesday seeking answers to America’s growing opioid crisis.
It’s a public health emergency with no end in sight. 64,000 people in the U.S. died from overdose last year.
This meeting was spearheaded by Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, as members of Congress looked for new weapons in the battle of opioid addiction.
It’s a fight where the weapons are powerless. Opioids are taking lives and taking over communities, and now reaching the halls of Congress.
Tuesday, members of the House Oversight Committee packed into Johns Hopkins Hospital seeking solutions to the country’s growing opioid crisis.
“Have you had discussions with any of the manufacturers or drug companies when it comes to Naloxone?,” Cummings asked.
Maryland has not been immune to the crisis.
Recently, WJZ’s Vic Carter went undercover with a special task force in Harford County that is dedicated to getting the drugs off the streets.
This year in Harford county alone, there have been more than 300 opioid overdoses.
77 of them were fatal.
Overdoses are up 73 percent from last year in Harford County.
“It is a critical moment,” Cumming said Tuesday.
Skyrocketing numbers like that are one of the reasons New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was chosen by President Donald Trump to head the commission on combating the opioid crisis.
Earlier this month, the commission released 69 recommendations on battling the crisis, including more funding, education, treatment, and stronger prosecution against those profiting off the drug.
“Now I believe it is up to leadership of the Congress, and the President, and members of the cabinet to ask, how do we implement this plan?,” Christie said.
The committee also warned that without proper steps, the country could be facing an even bigger crisis.
“Fentanyl and carfentanyl is going to make heroin and old prescription drugs look like child’s play,” Christie added.
Christie said the majority of fentanyl is shipped to the U.S. from China.
He says he has talked with President Trump to make the issue part of ongoing negotiations between the two countries.