The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Calls for Immediate Action to Address Opioid Epidemic
(Washington, DC) – The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, led by Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) is calling on Congress and the Administration to take immediate, meaningful action to address the opioid epidemic. The Task Force is committed to working in a bipartisan way and with the Administration to advance solutions to this national crisis. The recently released report by the White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis details specific recommendations for fighting the opioid crisis in the United States. Many of the proposals included in the report mirror the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force’s agenda, which includes:
- Immediately addressing the IMD exclusion
- Enhancing medical education for prescribers and providers
- Encouraging the wide-spread use and accessibility of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
- Enhancing Narcan availability
- Prioritizing funding to DHS’s Customs and Border Protection to improve drug detection technology
- Ensuring federal health care systems share data with Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP).
- Making it easier to share addiction-specific medical information with healthcare providers.
Additionally, the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force supports the Commission’s recommendation of declaring a National Public Health Emergency and enforcement of mental health parity laws. The Task Force is committed to working together across party lines and with the Administration to move these efforts forward.
“It’s time for real action from the Administration on the opioid epidemic,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I’ve been encouraged by my colleagues on the Bipartisan Heroin Task force and their willingness to come together and work toward real solutions to this crisis. Earlier this year, our Task Force announced legislative proposals, some of which were outlined in President Trump’s own Opioid Commission findings. We need a comprehensive approach that expands access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services if we’re going to stem the growth of this epidemic. Law enforcement officials agree that we can’t simply arrest our way out of this crisis. I urge the Administration to listen to our Task Force and work with Congress to pass our bipartisan agenda and make a real difference for people in New Hampshire and across the country.”
“In my home state of New Jersey, 2,000 people died from overdoses in 2016, surpassing car accidents, shootings and suicides combined,” said Congressman MacArthur. “It’s clear this epidemic is hurting so many lives. Throughout the year, the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force has been working together to find commonsense solutions to this crisis and I’m thankful to see much of our agenda aligns with the Administration’s proposals. This report is an aggressive step and I would encourage my colleagues on each side of the aisle to continue to focus on helping those struggling with addiction, specifically in curbing the supply of drugs coming into our country. ”
“The disease of addiction is a national emergency and every delay means more loved ones will die,” said Congressman Norcross. “The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force has been offering commonsense legislative solutions to deal with this national emergency and the Administration’s own Commission is now suggesting many of the same solutions. There’s no time to wait to put these policies in place.”
“There are few issues more pressing in our own neighborhoods than the devastation caused by the growing epidemic of opioid and drug abuse,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. While community groups, local government and law enforcement have undertaken the Herculean challenge of addressing this issue from all its sides, it is clear there is a crucial role for Congress to play in supporting and expanding these efforts.”