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Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Releases Legislative Agenda for the 115th Congress

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Washington, June 27, 2017 | comments

Today, the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force led by Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) released its legislative agenda for the 115th Congress. The agenda includes commonsense, bipartisan legislation to address the opioid epidemic from the perspective of law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and recovery.

The bills included in the agenda include Jessie’s Law, the STOP OD Act, the Addiction Recovery Through Family Health Accounts Act, Road to Recovery Act, the INTERDICT Act, the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act, the CRIB Act, and the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act.

Full details of the legislative agenda are available here.

The co-chairs of the Task Force were joined in today’s announcement by Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), and John Sarbanes (D-MD).

“The opioid addiction epidemic is a crisis that transcends politics,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “We know that tackling substance use requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and recovery. The legislative agenda we released today represents the commonsense approach that the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force is committed to pursuing. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues on the Task Force to announce this agenda and look forward to working across the aisle to make progress in addressing the opioid epidemic.”

“The opioid crisis has touched so many families and communities across the United States,” said Congressman MacArthur.  “It has always been my belief that we must find a balance between showing compassion for those suffering with substance abuse, while stopping the flow of drugs into our communities and those who profit from other people's misery.  I believe our legislative agenda represents this balance and I’m grateful members from both sides of the aisle could come together on this critical issue.  The agenda released today is a crucial step in our fight against drug abuse.”

“Drug overdoses involving prescription opioids and heroin have nearly quadrupled since 1999 and are now the leading cause of accidental death. In my home state of Pennsylvania, drug-related deaths and opioid addiction rates were among the highest in the country - rising 20 percent in one year, including a 50-percent increase in my district alone. It’s clear this epidemic is destroying precious lives and costing us resources,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “Fighting back against this addiction crisis requires a multi-faceted approach and the bold, bipartisan legislative agenda laid out by the Task Force responds to the real-world concerns expressed by local lawmakers, community leaders and healthcare professionals across the county who endeavor to tackle this epidemic each day. Together, we can win this fight.”

“In Williamstown, NJ – a town in my district – the heroin death rate is nearly 25 times the national average. It’s tragic and unacceptable. We need to take collaborative, bipartisan action to help the people in Williamstown and every town around the country,” said Congressman Norcross. “Last year we saw the largest annual jump in overdose deaths ever recorded in our country – it’s clear we must cross party lines to curb the opioid epidemic. The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force is standing together to offer commonsense legislative solutions because one preventable death is too many.”

“On average, eighteen Oklahomans died each week as a result of a drug overdose in 2016 and the number of deaths due to the opioid abuse in my home state have increased at an alarming rate,” Congressman Mullin said.  “It is time to take action.  We must do better for Oklahomans, and for all of our nation’s citizens, suffering from this tragic epidemic.  I look forward to working with the members of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force to move forward with proposals and legislation that put our country’s opioid epidemic on a path to recovery.”

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