WASHINGTON — A Democratic candidate for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District indicated Monday he would make the opioid crisis a central issue of his campaign, laying out the first detailed policy proposal in the crowded race.
David Trone, co-owner of a national liquor retailer, said he would support Congress approving $100 billion in new funding over 10 years to confront the epidemic. His plan also calls for allowing the government to negotiate lower prices for overdose medication and expanding prevention programs in grade school, among other ideas.
Trone is one of at least five Democrats and two Republicans who have started raising money for the 6th District, left open after incumbent Democratic Rep. John Delaney decided to run for president. Trone ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 8th Congressional District in 2016.
Trone, who has often discussed his father’s struggle with alcoholism, noted that his 24-year-old nephew passed away from an opioid overdose in 2016.
Most of Trone’s ideas have broad support, particularly among Democrats. A commission created by President Donald Trump and led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for instance, had also recommended allowing the government to negotiate the price of the overdose medication naloxone.
Congress approved about $2 billion for addiction treatment and prevention efforts in 2016. But for now, it’s not clear that there would be support for a $100 billion investment even if Democrats make big gains in this year’s midterm election. Democrats last year had been pushing to increase funding for opioid addiction by about $45 billion over a decade.
“President Trump does not take the crisis seriously,” Trone said in a statement.
Trone urged a doubling of funding for the Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health during his 2016 campaign. He reiterated that idea on Monday.
“Medical research funding saves us money in the long run,” he said. “It’s one of the best investments we make.”