Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have co-authored a letter to President Trump asking where his opioid epidemic declaration is. It has been 63 days since Trump promised he would declare a crisis, but he has not done so yet.
"On Aug. 10, 2017, you declared that '[t]he opioid crisis is an emergency and I'm officially saying right now it is an emergency — we're going to draw it up and we're doing to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem of the likes of which we've never had,'" wrote Warren and Murkowski. But while the senators "applaud" Trump for addressing addiction, "we are extremely concerned that 63 days after your statement, you have yet to take the necessary steps to declare a national emergency on opioids, nor have you made any proposals to significantly increase funding to combat the epidemic."
An estimated 900,000 Americans overdosed in 2015, with over 30,000 of those overdoses fatal and stemming from opioid drugs. Opioids are the leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. STAT estimated earlier this year that opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade.
"This kind of delay between pronouncement and formal declaration is not normal," The New York Times writes. "In the past, formal declarations and public pronouncements of a public emergency generally have happened simultaneously." Read more about what it means to declare a public emergency at The New York Times, and read Murkowski and Warren's full letter here.