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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

Kuster Holds Briefing in Plymouth to Discuss Combating Opioid Epidemic

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 11:00am

Plymouth, NH – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) sat down with stakeholders from the greater Plymouth area to discuss best practices and ongoing challenges in combating the opioid epidemic. Kuster currently serves as co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan Task Force to End the Heroin Epidemic, and she has been holding a series of regional briefings throughout the Second District since the beginning of this year.

“If we are to put an end to the opioid epidemic, we need to ensure that the perspectives of local, city, state, and federal parties are considered as we search for comprehensive, lasting solutions,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Today, I was proud to bring together stakeholders from a variety of different sectors to share best practices, as well as to discuss how I can help from the federal level to tackle the ongoing challenges in their communities. As the co-chair of a bipartisan task force dedicated to ending the heroin crisis, I look forward to sharing today’s conversation with my colleagues as we continue working to address the heroin crisis through our efforts in Congress.”

Congresswoman Kuster was joined for this discussion, held at Speare Memorial Hospital’s Bolder Point location, by Plymouth Police Chief Stephen Lefebvre, Bristol Fire Chief Steve Yannuzzi, and Plymouth State University Dean of Students Jeff Furlone, as well as medical providers, treatment providers, and local advocates, among others. During the briefing, participants discussed the impact opioid addiction has had on the Plymouth community, as well as the specific steps Plymouth and surrounding towns are taking to put a stop to the growing epidemic throughout the region. Kuster also discussed her work in Congress on this issue, including her work on the Task Force and her recent legislative efforts. Last week, Kuster cosponsored the Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) Act, which would fix a glitch in the Affordable Care Act that indirectly incentivizes doctors to prescribe more opioid pain medication than necessary.  Today’s event comes on the heels of yesterday’s briefing in Nashua and is the latest in a series of regional briefings on the opioid epidemic that Congresswoman Kuster has held with stakeholders across the state. Kuster will bring these conversations with her back to Congress to help guide her work on the Task Force.

Kuster has prioritized efforts to address the opioid crisis across the state by convening events on substance use disorders and by highlighting the issue at the federal level through her work in Congress. Last year, Kuster helped introduce bipartisan legislation that aims to attack the epidemic from a number of different angles, including through increased grant funding and increased coordination among federal agencies. As co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, Kuster works to bring together experts from federal agencies to coordinate efforts to combat the epidemic. She has also spoken at forums and attended briefings and ride-alongs with law enforcement officials in Nashua, Keene, and Franklin, providing her with a direct look at the challenges facing law enforcement and local communities. These experiences help Kuster continue to lead efforts in Congress to bring an end to opioid abuse in New Hampshire.