Fairfax Co. leaders welcome Trump announcement on opioid crisis

FAIRFAX, Va. — Area leaders are responding positively to President Donald Trump’s announcement on opioids.

“The more attention that we can put on the opioid crisis from all levels of government will help,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova. “Having the president, especially, speak out is, I think, going to be helpful.”

“The national attention is quite welcome, especially in law enforcement, and in public safety in general,” said Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler. “We are having to deal with this issue as the tip of the spear.”

In a White House speech Thursday, Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency, a step administration officials said would expand access to medical services in some areas, although it does not include much additional funding.

“I think we absolutely could use more assistance from the federal level of government,” specifically in the form of even tougher oversight of organizations that dispense prescription opioids, Bulova said.

Other help would include “medical assistance, counseling assistance, enforcement assistance,” from all levels of government, she said.

Roessler agreed that fighting back requires the help of multiple agencies — specifically health departments, to provide education and treatment. He also said the federal government could step up its enforcement efforts in order to stop the flow of heroin from South America and China.

“Every single day, in Fairfax County and across this nation, law enforcement and fire-rescue are responding to overdoses and deaths,” he said, underscoring the gravity of the problem.

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