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October 26, 2017
Dennis Wharton
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NAB Statement on Declaration of Opioid Epidemic as Public Health Emergency

WASHINGTON -- In response to President Donald Trump declaring the nationwide opioid epidemic a "public health emergency," the following statement can be attributed to NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton:

"NAB is proud that our local broadcasters and network partners have been, for more than a year, shining a light on this public health crisis. Broadcasters take seriously our role as 'first informers' in times of emergency, and there is no greater public health emergency than the opioid crisis."

Last September, NAB held a press conference on Capitol Hill to announce a nationwide campaign working with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to address the opioid epidemic. On hand to show support for the campaign were a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and House members, including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

Representatives of the broadcasting industry who attended the press conference and pledged support for the initiative were: Art Brooks, President, Arizona Broadcasters Association; Rebecca Hanson, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Policy, Sinclair Broadcast Group; Ginny Morris, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Hubbard Radio Group; and Jordan Wertlieb, President of Hearst Television.

Since the campaign's launch, local radio and TV stations and broadcast networks have taken a multi-faceted approach to educate the public about the crisis and raise awareness of treatment options for addicts and their loved ones seeking help. In addition to regular news reporting on opioids and running Partnership-produced public service announcements, broadcasters have produced and aired numerous documentaries, in-depth investigations and town hall forums on the impact of the epidemic on local communities.

Examples of broadcasters' efforts to address the opioid epidemic include:

Other stories about broadcasters' efforts to cover the nationwide opioid epidemic can be found here.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

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