Turning the Tide Together
For many Granite Staters, the ongoing opioid epidemic is the most pressing issue facing New Hampshire today. I have been working with my colleagues in Congress and with local stakeholders to combat the crisis here in New Hampshire and across the country, and I’d like to share with you some of the most recent developments in this fight:
White House Announces Additional Action to Address the Heroin Epidemic
As families across New Hampshire and around the country continue to lose loved ones to opioid use at an alarming rate, we must take action now. I’ve long urged the White House to be more proactive about addressing this crisis, and I’m very pleased that the Administration recently announced new steps to curb the opioid crisis. I thank the Administration for implementing a number of programs I’ve advocated for, including working to expand access to treatment for individuals suffering from opioid use disorder through a number of grant programs, finalizing a rule requiring mental health and substance use disorder treatment benefits for patients to be comparable to medical and surgical benefits, and implementing new steps to ensure more doctors are trained in pain management and addiction prevention.
CDC’s New Opioid Prescription Guidelines
Across the country, four out of five heroin users began their path to addiction after first misusing prescription drugs. As one of the states hit hardest by the opioid and heroin epidemic sweeping the nation, Granite Staters know firsthand that we must get ahead of this issue. One way to do this is by putting an end to the dangerous practice of overprescribing, which often leads patients down the deadly path to addiction. I applaud the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for releasing twelve new guidelines, which will help reduce overprescribing and cut down on the amount of drugs available for misuse and purchase on the black market.
But we must not stop here; that’s why I encourage Congress to immediately pass into law a number of bills my colleagues and I on the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic have introduced, including the Mooney-Kuster Bill, which will eliminate an incentive in the Affordable Care Act that indirectly leads physicians to overprescribe opioids for pain management.
Fighting for the Funding We Need
In order to successfully stem the crisis, we must ensure our law enforcement, medical providers, and prevention advocates have the resources necessary to address this crisis in a comprehensive way. I was proud to lead a letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting funding for programs to help New Hampshire and other affected states fight the heroin epidemic. You can read the full text of my letter here.
Upcoming Task Force Hearing
Later today, I will be questioning the CDC and other medical experts about current opioid prescribing practices during a hearing of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, which I co-founded last year. The Task Force has heard from a variety of experts over the past few months about how we can best work together to stem to crisis, and I am proud to announce that I will be bringing the Task Force to New Hampshire for a field hearing on April 25th to examine the heroin crisis and its impact on the northeast. I will be joined by additional Members of Congress in hearing from law enforcement, medical, and prevention communities on three distinct panels. The feedback we hear from New Hampshire stakeholders and regional experts will help guide the Task Force's continued work to establish comprehensive solutions to the opioid epidemic.
Thank you for all that you do to make New Hampshire such a wonderful place to live.