August 12, 2017
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that he is "proud" of President Donald Trump for declaring the country's opioid crisis a national emergency, which will give the green light for much-needed tools and resources.
Christie said so much during his WPG Talk Radio interview hosted by Harry Hurley Friday while vacationing in Sicily, a 30-minute long conversation touching on the crisis just a day after Trump made the declaration.
"I'm very proud of the president for stepping up and understanding from his own experience traveling the country and from my report that this is a national emergency," Christie said.
Trump said earlier in the week that the country would "win" the battle against drug addiction but ignored the recommendation from the presidential opioid commission, led by Christie, to announce it as an emergency.
Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price advised against the declaration earlier this week, claiming it was unnecessary.
"The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially, right now, it is an emergency," Trump said at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course on Thursday. "It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."
Christie cited a number of statistics on the radio show that urged the severity of the issue, including that 142 people die daily in the U.S. from a drug overdose. That makes the epidemic "greater than the AIDS crisis," Christie said.
While Christie said that he would still need to review "the legal papers" to see Trump's final wording, the delcaration could allow officials to delegate resources like it would a national disaster. It would "make sure states get the resources they need to be able to address the emergency," he said during the show.
Christie said seeing the nation's problem while head of the commission has been a "shock" and that it "is getting worse in many ways."
The governor touched on the work that New Jersey is doing to remedy addiction and opened up on how losing his own mother to a smoking habit impacted his public policy work.
"The thing that all of us should be able to agree on is that every life is precious, every life is a gift from God and no soul is irredeemable," he said "We need to make sure that no matter where you're situated in life, we give you a hand up to try to reclaim your life for yourself first and foremost, for your loved ones and your coworkers so you can come back to a productive life. That's our goal here."
Listen to the full interview below: