President Trump announced on Wednesday the five members of the task force he revealed earlier this year to combat the country's growing opioid crisis.
In a statement from the White House on Wednesday, Trump announced his intent to designate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie chair of the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The other new members announced are Gov. Roy Cooper, D-N.C.; Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Mass.; former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.; and Bertha Madras of Massachusetts.
Trump revealed during a roundtable in March that he would tap Christie to lead the panel. At the time, it was reported that the commission would also include Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Defense Secretary James Mattis.
The commission is supposed to locate federal funds to be used to combat the health crisis and help write up changes to the criminal justice system that would help opioid addicts once they are released from prison, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has kept track of an alarming rise in opioid overdose deaths in recent decades. In 2015 alone, opioids killed more than 33,000 people, the CDC says on its website.
"We want to help those who have become so badly addicted. Drug abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the United States," said Trump in March, according to the Associated Press. "This is a total epidemic and I think it's probably, almost un-talked about compared to the severity that we're witnessing."
Christie said on ABC that he doesn't think proposed GOP cuts to the drug-control effort will come to pass.
Christie, who lost a friend to addiction, has made the fight against opioid abuse an issue central to his remaining time in office. Earlier this year he signed legislation which limits first-time painkiller prescriptions to five days and requires state-regulated health insurance plans to cover substance abuse treatment for at least six months.
Christie's second term as governor of New Jersey ends in January. He can't run for a third consecutive term, according to New Jersey law.