Opioid Panel Is A 'Sham,' Commission Member Tells CNN

A member of the president's opioid commission told CNN the panel is a "charade."

Opioid Panel Is A 'Sham,' Commission Member Tells CNN
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A member of the president's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is speaking out about the panel.

Former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy told CNN the commission was a "charade" and a "sham" because of what he calls a lack of action by the Republican-led Congress.

"This thing's a charade. I have to be true to the way I feel — this is essentially a sham," Kennedy said. "You can't expect to stem the tide of a public health crisis that is claiming over 64,000 lives per year without putting your money where your mouth is."

The six-member panel was appointed in March 2017 and released its final report in November with recommendations for controlling the crisis.

Kennedy told CNN the opioid epidemic hasn't seen any relief, even with a public health emergency declaration.

President Donald Trump instated that emergency in October, but it was set to expire Jan. 23. However, the Department of Health and Human Services acting secretary renewed it for another 90 days amid the government shutdown.

A December report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in 2016 opioids killed more people than breast cancer.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.