INDIANAPOLIS – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie underscored the nation’s opioid crisis in Indianapolis Monday, days before a White House commission Christie leads is poised to release its final report and list of recommendations to President Trump and Congress.
Christie was Monday’s keynote speaker at an annual conference hosted by Indiana’s attorney general focused on the state’s prescription drug and opioid crisis.
He said he wants mandatory ongoing classes for doctors on recognizing signs of prescription pill abuse.
"The people who are dying today in large measure are dying because we refused to acknowledge the problem we created," he said. "It was easier for us to just ignore it, until we could ignore it no longer."
He said every first responder should have access to Narcan at all times and that pharmaceutical companies need to work together to develop non-opioid painkillers. When it comes to marijuana, Christie believes legalization would make people more likely to get hooked on other drugs.
"Marijuana legalization will lead to more drug use, not less drug use, will lead to more death not less death, and the national institute of drug abuse has proven it. There is no reason, if I told you today that anything would make your child two and a half time more likely to be addicted to opioids, you would be getting them as far away from it as you possibly could," he said.
He also noted he doesn't want to see opioids in VA hospitals any more and would like for opioid education to start in middle school.
Christie also responded to Monday's indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, after saying Sunday on Face the Nation "no one" has told President Trump he is under investigation as part of the probe.
"It looks like a pretty standard, straight forward money laundering indictment. It had nothing to do with the campaign as far as I can tell from reading the indictment or any of Mr. Manafort’s conduct during his time as chairman of the trump campaign or his associate as well," he said. "It’s never good; you never like to see that kind of conduct and activity going on.
"We also have to remember these are allegations and in this country people are innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates have the opportunity to put forward their defense but it’s never a good day when these things happen and that kind of content is alleged against people who have some public profile."