CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, today issued the following statement in response to criticism of the recent visit by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to opioid-ravaged areas of West Virginia.
“I was very disappointed to see the Republican Party’s response to Senator Warren's recent visit to West Virginia calling attention to the opioid addiction crisis,” Delegate Pushkin said. “This crisis touches all of us in West Virginia, regardless of party, race, age or income, and should not be a partisan issue.
“While I applaud President Trump’s efforts to help pass the SUPPORT Act, and for his attempt to crack down on illegal fentanyl imports from China, the modest estimated 5-percent decrease in opioid deaths is not a sign that we should hang the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner up just yet,” Delegate Pushkin said. “We still need all hands on deck to address an issue that in 2017 claimed more lives that the entire ten years of the Vietnam War.
“President Trump’s own Council of Economic Advisers, an agency of the Office of the President, estimates the economic cost of the opioid addiction crisis to our nation at $504 billion,” Delegate Pushkin said. “President Trump’s allocation of $6 billion represents just 1.19 percent of that cost. To those who say we can't afford to do more I say we can't afford not to.
“In West Virginia we still lose more than 130 people every single day to addiction,” Delegate Pushkin said. “That’s 130 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends and neighbors, and that’s unacceptable. Let’s put our partisan disagreements aside and treat this as the national health crisis that it really is.”