President Trump will launch a commission on Wednesday aimed at combating the nation's burgeoning opioid epidemic and ensuring federal resources are being used appropriately to address the problem, a White House official told the Washington Examiner.
The announcement comes the same day that Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and others are set to participate in a White House listening session on opioid and drug abuse.
Christie, whose final term expires next January, is expected to head the commission. Several members of Trump's Cabinet, including Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are likely to be involved in some capacity.
"The opioid initiative is one that's incredibly important to every family in every corner of this country," Christie said during an interview with NBC News earlier Wednesday.
"What we need to come to grips with is addiction is a disease and no life is disposable," he added. "We can help people by giving them appropriate treatment."
Trump regularly addressed the nation's opioid epidemic during campaign stops in New Hampshire and communities in the Northeastern United States where drug-related deaths have risen sharply.
The president vowed to deliver progress on the opioid epidemic in a speech less than a month before Election Day, during which he promised to roll back "misguided rules and regulations" that have prevented agencies like the Food and Drug Administration from approving abuse-deterring drugs.
"It is tragedy enough that so many Americans are struggling with life-threatening addiction. We should not compound that tragedy with government policies and bureaucratic rules that make it even harder for them to get help," Trump had said at the time.