President Trump announced on Thursday afternoon, “The opioid crisis is an emergency and I’m saying, officially, right now, it is an emergency.” Currently, more than 100 Americans die of opioid-related deaths each day. Such widespread fatalities have prompted six states -- Maryland, Massachusetts, Alaska, Arizona, Virginia, and Florida -- to declare some form of emergency in the past few years. With the rate of opioid overdoses reaching record levels, we diagnosed which lawmakers have been most vocal on addressing the crisis from the state capitals to Congress.
Prior to 2014, 500 bills mentioning opioids had been introduced in state legislatures. Over the past three years, more than 1,900 opioid-related bills have been introduced. This year alone, the New Jersey Legislature introduced 91 bills on opioids, the New York Legislature introduced 75 bills, and the Massachusetts Legislature introduced 58 bills.
Governor Tom Wolf (D-PA) has mentioned the opioid crisis more than 200 times in official statements or social media posts -- making him the most vocal of US governors on opioids this year, which makes sense considering the recent surge in opioid-related hospitalization in Pennsylvania. Rounding out the top five most vocal governors on opioids are Governor Hogan (R-MD), Governor Cooper (D-NC), Governor Christie (R-NJ), and Governor Walker (R-AK).
Members of Congress have mentioned opioids over 5,600 times in official statements or social media posts in 2017. Democrats account for 62% of the opioid conversation in Congress compared to Republicans 38%. Senators Shaheen and Hassan of New Hampshire as well as Rep. Kuster (D-NH-2) are all among the top five most vocal members on the opioid crisis.