The national opioid commission chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is pushing back the release of an interim report for a second time.
President Donald Trump established the Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis by executive order on March 29 to study ways to improve the federal response to the nationwide opioid abuse epidemic, including education, prevention and treatment programs.
The group was supposed to submit a report to Trump with interim recommendations within 90 days, according to the executive order. However, the chair can submit written notice asking for an extension.
The release of the report via teleconference was pushed back to July 17 and now has been rescheduled for July 31, according to the commission’s website.
The group is still reviewing more than 8,000 public comments it received after its first public meeting in June, Christie’s spokesperson said Friday.
“The extensions to submit the interim report were made to ensure adequate time to fully review the extensive public comments received,” Brian Murray wrote in an email.
The final report is due to be completed on Oct. 1.
Christie has made combating opioid addiction the cornerstone of his final year in office. For several months, he attempted to pressure the state’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, to tap into its $2.4 billion reserves to create a fund to support anti-addiction programs.
The state government shutdown for three days at the beginning of the month after Christie made a bill to restructure Horizon a condition of signing off on hundreds of millions of dollars in Democratic spending priorities in the state budget. A version of the reform proposal passed the Legislature; however, Christie did not succeed in getting any money for the proposed fund.
The other members of the presidential commission include Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, former Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Harvard Medical School professor Bertha Madras.