President Donald Trump has backed-up New Jersey Governor Chris Christie regarding the recommendation of the Presidential Drug Commission, on which Christie serves as Chairman.
A day following Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price's pronouncement that a Presidential national emergency declaration was not required, President Trump decided otherwise.
Christie and his fellow Commission members all strongly believed that a National Emergency should be declared by President Trump.
Opioids are the most potent painkillers ever conceived and they have created the worst addiction crisis in American history.
These are strong words, which I will back up. Governor Christie appeared in a wide-ranging "Hurley in the Morning" exclusive interview for 28 uninterrupted minutes (on Friday, August 11, 2017) directly addressing the topic of opioid abuse in America. It was a riveting conversation.
The Presidential Drug Commission has concluded that "there are approximately 142 deaths each day from drug overdose, which means that the death toll is equal to a September 11th scale loss of life every three weeks," said Christie during our interview.
President Trump held an impromptu press conference from Bedminster, New Jersey last Tuesday, August 8, 2017. The President vowed to "fight this deadly epidemic and the United States will win."
"The opioid crisis is an emergency and we're going to make it a national emergency," said Trump. "It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had. The opioid crisis is an emergency and I'm saying it officially right now ... it's an emergency. It's a national emergency. We're going to draw it up."
These official words, repeated with emphasis by The President, are critical because it will set into motion the substantial funding, focus and structure required to address this mounting epidemic. "We are drawing the documents now ... to officially declare a national emergency," said Trump.
President Trump compared today's opioid epidemic to the 1970s; however, he stated that today's drug abuse issues are much more severe. "When I was growing up, they had LSD and they had certain generations of drugs," said Trump. "There's never been anything like what's happened to this country over the last four or five years."
It's become a "cottage industry" of sorts to viciously attack Governor Christie about any- and everything. The Governor has demonstrated accomplished national leadership skills as Chairman of the Presidential Drug Commission.
I would like to see this result in Governor Christie one day becoming America's Drug Czar and reporting directly to President Trump.
For anyone who thinks that the Governor has attached himself to this issue as some kind of Machiavellian distraction, you are wrong. Governor Christie adored his deceased Mother. Governor Christie watched his Mother die because of nicotine addiction from cigarette smoking -- just as I did (with my Mother in 1976 and Father in 1981). The addiction to the various chemicals in every cigarette is so powerful, making it very difficult to kick the deadly habit.
While Christie's Father (Wilbur) is one of the smartest and kindest people you will ever meet, Governor Christie has often credited his Mother for the forward, feisty and champion characteristic traits in his personality. These were the traits that earned the public's trust and won Christie the governorship.
Any fair examination of Christie's efforts and his dedication to battling the opioid drug addiction crisis yields that he is the authentic real deal regarding his commitment to making a positive and effective difference in combating America's drug crisis.
President Trump has promised that "We are going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money" to address the epidemic.
I don't know of anyone who isn't directly affected by this issue -- either by directly using drugs themselves, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or marijuana, or, have a close family member or friend that is presently dealing with various addictions.
The undeniable reality is that it is a moral imperative that we address this issue as a nation, without further delay. Governor Christie may go down as this generation's "Betty Ford" or "Nancy Reagan" in terms of being "The Face" and voice required to shine an effective national spotlight on an issue that was not getting the attention it should have.
In our interview, Governor Christie also addressed his philosophy that the drug dealers should continue to receive the harshest prison sentences. However, the drug user who is battling a disease should have access to diversion programs and courts that treat those addicted to drugs with compassion, and treatment should be made available to help save lives.
It's so important to address this crisis now, because families are literally being destroyed, along with so much lost productivity in our society as a direct result of drug abuse.
Governor Christie's approach is focused, smart and compassionate. If it's allowed to take root nationally - under his leadership - it could be America's best opportunity to make substantial and meaningful progress regarding the escalating drug epidemic.