March 30, 2017

ICYMI: Senator Hassan to MSNBC on White House Opioid Commission: “We Need Urgent Action Because People Are Dying”

ICYMI: Senator Hassan to MSNBC on White House Opioid Commission: "We Need Urgent Action Because People Are Dying"

WASHINGTON - Yesterday, Senator Maggie Hassan joined MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" and NPR's "All Things Considered" to highlight the need for the White House to take urgent action to address the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis. The Senator highlighted that while she is encouraged by the White House's acknowledgement of the substance misuse crisis and ready to work with members of both parties to support those on the front lines, the Trump Administration needs to show that the commission will be backed up by urgent action, because the policies the administration has pursued so far would set back efforts to combat the crisis.

Senator Hassan on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes"

Senator Hassan: "It is taking time to turn this tide, but we are going to reverse it, we are going to beat this thing as long as we understand the cause of the problem and we can expand treatment. And again, also build the kind of recovery network that we really need to do and continue to work with our law enforcement too. But we have to attack both the demand side as well as the supply side. And again, I'm very concerned that the President's event today, you know, it was the first step, but we need urgent action because people are dying."

NPR: Democratic Senator Urges Trump To 'Do More Than Talk' On Opioid Crisis

Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire addressed the opioid problem in her state for several years as governor. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks with Hassan about President Trump's opioid plans.


MCEVERS: Well, what would you propose? I mean, what can the federal government do to tackle this problem?

HASSAN: Well, certainly - I've already joined legislators in both parties, senators in both parties, on three different bills. The LifeBOAT Act, which would establish a funding stream for treatment. Making sure that we do more to stop the importation of fentanyl into the country, that's the STOP Act that Senator Portman is spearheading. And then the SALT Act also gives us tools to combat the synthetic fentanyls that are coming into our country and causing destruction and death.


MCEVERS: It sounds like there is a lot of bipartisan support for addressing this problem. Does that mean that you are willing to work with the president to come up with a solution?

HASSAN: Well, you know, the president and first lady were kind enough to invite senators to the White House last night for a reception. And I spent some of my time there talking with White House staff about my eagerness to work with them. One of the things that governors around the country have been doing for the last several years is rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on this in a bipartisan way. There are lots of best practices out there.

What I know is that we can't roll back Medicaid expansion. We can't eliminate the essential health benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act which tells insurance companies that they have to cover substance misuse treatment. That's been a really critical component of our capacity to build up treatment. And more than anything, we have to listen to people who have themselves overcome addiction and are in recovery. We have to listen to the families who have been so brave. People are talking about this every day. Everywhere I go in New Hampshire, people from all walks of life ask me for help with this.