Reps. Kuster and Guinta Host Expert Roundtable on Heroin Epidemic
Concord, NH – Today, as part of their new Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Frank Guinta (NH-01) hosted a joint roundtable discussion to help solve the growing heroin epidemic in New Hampshire.
During the roundtable, Kuster and Guinta discussed the Stop the Overdose Problem Already Becoming a Universal Substance Epidemic (STOP ABUSE) Act, which they introduced earlier this month. An expert panel provided feedback to the legislation and outlined steps that local support services, law enforcement and Congress can take to help individuals and families affected by opioid addiction.
“During my time in office, I have seen opioid abuse rise to unprecedented levels throughout New Hampshire’s communities,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “And despite our best efforts, there is still no end in sight. We are on track this year to exceed the number of opioid-related deaths in the state, and as jarring as those statistics are, behind each number is a life lost and a family devastated by the death of a loved one. There is no single fix to end the growing heroin crisis, but I am proud to have introduced the STOP ABUSE Act with Representative Guinta as one piece of the solution. Today’s roundtable was a valuable opportunity to hear from experts about what else Congress, the state, and medical providers can be doing to better bring an end to the opioid epidemic, and I look forward to taking their feedback with me back to Congress, where I will continue to fight to support all measures that would bring relief to individuals and families affected by opioid drug abuse.”
Congressman Guinta added, "Today's roundtable was an opportunity to hear from law enforcement officers and medical professionals on the front lines of the Granite State's heroin epidemic. To do our jobs in Congress, Representative Kuster and I must hear their expert advice, based on frequent and personal interaction with sufferers of heroin addiction. Our discussion was enlightening and valuable, emphasizing most of all the immediacy of the problem. Our talk has already helped to increase momentum towards better solutions, which should focus on decreasing the supply and demand for this deadly drug, while treating underlying addiction, claiming lives across all demographics. I'd like to thank the participants for their contributions and hard work to help New Hampshire.”
The STOP ABUSE Act addresses several aspects of combatting the growing heroin epidemic across the country, including the establishment of the Interagency Task Force on Heroin Addiction, the reauthorization of vital drug crisis grants, and the revision of treatment administration guidelines for individuals who are unable to receive take-home treatment, among other provisions. The Representatives were joined at the roundtable by Department of Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes, Chief Justice Tina Nadeau, State Police Colonel Robert Quinn, as well as experts from the health care, law enforcement, and treatment communities.
Kuster and Guinta have previously partnered on mental health and veterans initiatives and believe that their latest partnership can help create lasting solutions for communities around the country that are impacted by the heroin epidemic.
Rep. Kuster is also a cosponsor of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which makes broad reforms in the way we treat addiction by creating alternatives to incarceration and providing states with additional resources to combat abuse. Additionally, Kuster is a supporter of legislation that would help treat substance dependence in newborns and allow Medicare to cover substance abuse treatments at community treatment facilities.
Rep. Guinta has introduced a bipartisan bill to increase patients’ access to the life-saving overdose medication Naloxone and also cosponsored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. He is a member of the House Financial Services Committee.