Gov. Charlie Baker says he’s optimistic about a national effort to combat opioid abuse, even though President Trump has yet to adopt the recommendations made by Baker’s opioid addiction working group.
“Good news in the context of an epidemic like this is hard to define, but the president’s budget included a lot of new money for this,” Baker said during his monthly Ask The Governor segment on Boston Public Radio. “People in both the Republican and Democratic party in Congress were both surprised and pleased by that.”
Baker told WGBH News he has met with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, a former drug company executive who replaced Tom Price, who was forced to resign after a federal probe into his personal use of taxpayer money.
“Based on our conversations with them, I think that’s going to translate into some significant opportunities for people here in Massachusetts and for others as well," Baker said.
Baker's Opioid Addiction Working Group released a report in February that showed a trend of improvement on a statewide basis, though the problem is still persistent.
“It’s good news about a really bad story, and we have a really long way to go,” Baker said, “but it’s a start.”
When asked by Boston Public Radio host Jim Braude if he considered Trump’s efforts a “serious commitment,” Baker said, “He put a lot of money on the table, it was billions and billions of dollars.”
The White House fiscal budget for 2019 includes nearly $17 billion to fight a national opioid epidemic.
To listen to Gov. Baker’s full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.