Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire
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Kuster Hosts Special Order to Discuss Impact of Opioid Addiction across America

Jan 7, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Last night, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) hosted a series of “Special Order” speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives to call upon Congress to refocus efforts on bringing an end to the opioid epidemic that continues to threaten communities in New Hampshire and across the country. The bipartisan event on the House floor brought together 11 Representatives, who each shared stories of loved ones affected by addiction and the impact the crisis has had in their districts.

“The opioid epidemic has grown to historic proportions across America, with more Americans now dying each year from drug overdoses than car crashes,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “As co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, I called last evening’s Special Order to highlight the urgent need to establish lasting solutions to the crisis, but also to combat the stigma that surrounds individuals suffering from substance use as well as their families. Behind the staggering numbers of drug fatalities are the valued lives of daughters and sons, mothers and fathers whose lives were precious and whose deaths inflicted terrible pain on loved ones.

“I was privileged to be joined last evening by my dear friend Kriss Blevens and to share the tragic story of her step-daughter, Amber, who was recently lost to a heroin overdose. By honoring Amber’s life, and by acknowledging the complexities of opioid use, it is my hope that we can better recognize the urgency behind bringing an end to this epidemic. I want to thank Kriss and her husband, Mark, for allowing me to share Amber’s story, and thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for joining me in this important discussion. I am hopeful that by continuing to work together we will be able to bring an end to the opioid epidemic across the country.”

Kuster has prioritized efforts to address the opioid crisis across the state by convening events on substance use disorders and by prioritizing the issue at a federal level through her work in Congress. Earlier this year, Kuster helped introduce bipartisan legislation that 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.

Kuster is also the co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, which recently brought together experts from across numerous federal agencies to discuss leading efforts to combat the epidemic. She has also spoken at forums and has attended briefings and ride-alongs with law enforcement officials in Nashua and Franklin, providing Kuster with a direct look at the challenges facing law enforcement and local communities. Kuster has taken these conversations with her back to Washington, where she continues to lead efforts to bring an end to opioid abuse in New Hampshire.