Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire
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Kuster Hosts Superintendent of the Merrimack County Department of Corrections Ross Cunningham at Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Roundtable

Nov 6, 2017
Press Release

**The discussion can be watched in its entirety here**

[November 6, 2017 – Washington, DC – Ross Cunningham Superintendent of the Merrimack County Department of Corrections and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02)]

A high-resolution version of this photo is available here.  

(Washington, DC)—Today Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, hosted Ross Cunningham, Superintendent of the Merrimack County Department of Corrections, for a roundtable on drug intervention programs. Cunningham was joined on the panel by Dr. Leana Wen, Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore and Chief Thomas J. Dellane of the Stafford Township New Jersey Police Department. Mr. Cunningham has worked to improve access to medication assisted treatment for incarcerated individuals with substance use disorder in order work toward reducing drug-related recidivism.

“The opioid epidemic is devastating communities around New Hampshire and across the country, and we need an all hands on deck approach to take on this crisis,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Mr. Cunningham’s decades of service in law enforcement, coupled with his work to improve access to medication assisted treatment for incarcerated individuals with substance use disorder, make him a critically important resource for the Task Force. We know that prevention, treatment, and recovery goes hand in hand with law enforcement in addressing substance misuse, and I’m grateful to Mr. Cunningham for discussing his work and that of his staff with us today. I look forward to sharing his insights with other members of Congress as we work together to reduce the public health impact of addiction and overdose.” 

“Opioid addiction and overdose pose a serious challenge in communities across New Hampshire, but we're making progress,” said Ross Cunningham, Superintendent of the Merrimack County Department of Corrections. “Thanks to the dedication and continuous hard work of my staff, we’re working to begin reducing recidivism rates, and bring essential services to those struggling with mental illness. Combatting the opioid epidemic is a collaborative effort, and I appreciate the Task Force for hosting this discussion and for their commitment to ending this crisis. Together, we can save lives and help create safer, healthier communities."

The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, which has more than 90 congressional members, aims to develop best practices and foster interagency collaboration to address the epidemic. In 2016, the Task Force successfully pushed for the passage of fourteen bills in one week, which became part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S.524). The Task Force has also held numerous hearings and briefings, both in Washington and in communities impacted by addiction, to educate lawmakers about effective means to curb the crisis.

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