Mayor Whaley tells CNBC opiates are a ‘natural disaster’

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley appearing on CNBC on Wednesday morning to discuss the opioid epidemic.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley appearing on CNBC on Wednesday morning to discuss the opioid epidemic.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley appeared on CNBC’s morning program today to discuss the state and local opiate epidemic and the impact it has had on Ohio communities.

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In a talk with the show’s co-anchor Joe Kernen, Whaley said she supports efforts to designate the opiate crisis as a national emergency considering that many cities’ fatal overdose numbers this year already have surpassed last year’s totals.

“Here in Dayton we’ve been calling on the state to treat it like the natural disaster that it really is in our communities,” Whaley said.

Whaley said the city of Dayton has had to retrain its first responders because of the dangers involved in coming in contact with the powerful opoids fentanyl and carfentanil.

Whaley also said the city of Dayton is working to hold the makers and distributors of these powerful drugs accountable by becoming the fourth city across the country to sue them for wrongdoing and wasting city resources.

“We don’t think it’s fair for taxpayers to pay for the burden of first responders, EMTs and treatment centers,” she said. “Really, the people who started this mess should clean it up.”

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Kernen asked how much federal money Whaley believed was needed to effectively combat the opoid epidemic. He said the Republican health care bill included $45 billion for this issue but that people seem to believe “it’s never going to be enough.”

Whaley said it takes about five years for people addicted to opiates to complete treatment and rehab, which gets very expensive.

“This isn’t a 30-day quick fix for folks,” she said, adding that cutting Medicaid would be extremely harmful because that funding is used to help battle addiction.

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