REPS. KUSTER AND GUINTA LEAD BIPARTISAN TASK FORCE TO COMBAT THE HEROIN EPIDEMIC
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Frank Guinta (NH-01) jointly announced their formation of The Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic. The nationwide public health crisis surrounding heroin addiction has grown dramatically in scope over the last decade, with particularly devastating impacts in the Granite State. The Task Force, which will be jointly chaired by Kuster and Guinta, aims to develop best practices and foster interagency collaboration to address this growing heroin epidemic.
“The heroin epidemic facing our nation today is a byproduct of broader opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction that has taken hold in communities spanning all socioeconomic levels,” said Rep. Kuster. “As a country, we are faced with a formidable task of figuring out how we can bring an end to this epidemic. I am proud to join with Congressman Guinta to form this bipartisan task force, which will bring us one step closer to establishing comprehensive and long-lasting solutions to the heroin abuse threatening our communities.”
“The Northeast and especially New Hampshire are on the front lines of advancing addiction, overdose and death in many cases,” said Rep. Guinta. “Congresswoman Kuster and I are spreading the word about this emergency, and we’re actively seeking ideas to help Americans of every class and ethnicity to resist and recover from heroin.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Americans addicted to opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin. Almost 100 percent of heroin users have tried another drug; most have tried several. Heroin use has doubled among young demographics, including young females, and has grown among all socioeconomic groups.
Reps. Kuster and Guinta are urging fellow House members to join their effort to reverse the deadly trends. “I’m almost sorry to say we’ll have a lot of RSVP’s to this new task force” said Rep. Guinta, “because heroin is such a plague. But we’ll need everybody’s help to produce better results. The federal government has a role to play in interstate solutions and interdiction.”
Rep. Guinta, the former two-term mayor of Manchester, and Rep. Kuster, a former adoption attorney, have previously partnered on mental health and veterans initiatives and believe that their latest partnership will create lasting solutions for communities around the country that are impacted by the heroin epidemic.
“We’re assembling the best ideas in Congress and will include them in a larger legislative package that we are preparing to introduce. I am pleased that this Task Force will be able to support the priorities of this upcoming legislation as soon as Representative Guinta and I introduce the bill.” said Rep. Kuster.
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 is also a cosponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. He added, “Congresswoman Kuster and I have decades of combined experience and different, valuable perspectives to bring to bear. I’d like to thank her for her compassion and partnership.”