In an Executive Order issued 29 March, the President established a commission on combating drug addiction and the opioid crisis; and in the ceremony he described the nature is of this medical emergency:
“Drug abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the United States. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States and opioid-overdose deaths had nearly quadrupled since 1999. This is a terrible epidemic and I think it’s probably almost ‘un-talked about’ compared to the severity that we are witnessing.”
The President also noted that he would be counting on Gov. Christie to lead the assault, reminding his audience in the room and being televised by the press that probably best moment of Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign came during a town hall meeting in Belmont, New Hampshire, when he shared the ways in which he had himself experienced the effects of addiction, relating the story of his friend from Law School who struggled with an addiction to painkillers and sadly had eventually overdosed in 2014:
“And when I sat there as the governor of New Jersey at his funeral and looked across the pew at his three children sobbing because their dad is gone — there but for the grace of God go I.”
He also described his Mother’s experience with the addicting effects of nicotine; and both stories relating to Christie’s personal knowledge of addiction went viral.
Ironically, the stigma that is associated with addiction can be a great barrier to an individual’s being able and willing to reach out for the help they need. They may be unable to admit that they are powerless over the addiction and can no longer control their own behavior.
In a remarkable statement, Christie had noted that he is “pro-life for the whole life,” which is often something the Democratic opposition has critical of regarding Republican policies relating to the control of women over their own bodies.
Since his friend’s funeral Christie has nurtured an specific interest in the opioid epidemic, devoting nearly 40 of his 50-minute address in the New Jersey State-of-the-State address this year to the subject of addiction and treatment options, and the promise of a future for those caught up in this terrible trap.
As Governor, he had the option to expand Medicare for his constituents and they have greatly benefitted from the treatment options that are now available to them in New Jersey.