Gov. Hogan Discusses Opioid Epidemic While Testifying On Capitol Hill

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was on Capitol Hill Thursday to discuss the opioid crisis in Maryland and across the country.

Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids.

The president and several state leaders – including Gov. Hogan – are hoping to move forward with several bills to fight the opioid crisis.

On Thursday, Hogan joined a bipartisan group of governors testifying before the Senate Health Committee on opioid addiction here in Maryland.

Hogan discussed how Maryland is tackling the issue.

“For example, Governor Hogan in Maryland allowed all pharmacies to dispense naloxone, the drug that stops a drug overdose, and opened an opioid command center to coordinate the state and federal governments response to the crisis,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander.

“At the federal level, we have to focus on mental health and substance abuse issues together, because in many cases, they are overlapping and those are the two issues that everyone in our prison system has mental health or drug abuse issues,” Hogan said. “It’s responsible for a lot of the crime we are dealing with.”

The White House budget is requesting more than $3 billion in new funding this fiscal year to battle the opioid problem. Governors in both parties say it’s not enough.

“We are really trying to crack down, but a lot of it is coming through the U.S. Postal Service,” Hogan added. “It seems like no one is using the postal service anymore, but the drug dealers from China are. The’re not checking the packages the way the other delivery services are.”

In October, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public-health emergency, but has yet to request emergency funding.

“We have to do what we can on the local level, but the federal government has to step up in keeping it from coming into the country,” Hogan said.

The CDC estimates that the misuse of prescription opioids alone will cost $78.5 billion a year to combat.

Trump has promised new initiatives on opioids, but didn’t specify what they would be.

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