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Democratic senators urge Trump to renew opioid emergency declaration

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The group also seeks "substantial funding" to fight the epidemic. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

Senate Democrats are angry that little action has occurred since President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency in October and want him to renew the declaration as well as provide funding for the effort.

A group of 10 Democratic senators and one independent sent a letter to Trump on Friday seeking “substantial funding” for the epidemic.

Trump declared the epidemic a national emergency Oct. 26 to mobilize federal resources and strengthen the response to an epidemic that kills 91 Americans a day.

However, Democrats charge that since that declaration “we have seen too little action taken to the magnitude of the problem and urge you to immediately renew the opioid public health emergency.”

The lawmakers added that federal funding is needed to prevent addiction, provide treatment for people with abuse, and fund overdose reversal treatments such as the overdose antidote naloxone.

More than 42,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was a 28 percent increase from the death toll from 2015.

Democrats have long charged that Republicans are not providing enough resources to fight opioid abuse.

The 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law by former President Barack Obama in December 2016, included $1 billion in new funding to fight opioid addiction. However, no major funding infusions have occurred since the legislation was signed.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire signed on to the request. Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine also joined the letter.