Chris Christie To Team With President Trump On Opioid Addiction Fight

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will chair a commission that will give President Trump recommendations for how best to combat the opioid epidemic, according to announcements made Wednesday morning.

“We want to help those who have become so badly addicted,” Trump said during a White House discussion of the opioid epidemic. The president pointed out that drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths, and that opioid overdose rates have quadrupled since 1999. “This is a total epidemic and it’s almost un-talked about compared to the severity.”

Christie appeared on Fox & Friends last Wednesday morning to discuss the commission.

“[Addiction] is an epidemic in our country and what this task force hopes to do is to look at the issue of prevention, obviously interdiction of drugs before they come to our country, but also, and very importantly, the issue of treatment,” Christie said. “Addiction is a disease and we need to treat it that way and we need to get the people the help that they need to renew their lives and help become productive members of society and our families.”

Christie said that the commission will study federal and state responses, and make recommendations for ways to effectively fight opioid addiction going forward. The panel will “come back to the president with recommendations about how to address this problem and give some hope to families who are being torn apart by this problem across the country,” he said.

The panel will include Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to information released earlier in the week. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is also expected to serve on the commission, joining other lawmakers from around the country.