We must work together to eradicate the opioid epidemic
Rep. Kristine C. Howard February 24, 2020 | 12:51 PM
Quiet and deadly, people from all walks of life are afflicted by opioid addiction.
Every day, 192 American lives are lost to opioid overdose. These victims have families, friends, communities. This epidemic affects more than those who abuse the drugs – it devastates the lives of everyone in its orbit.
Sadly, our society is alarmingly susceptible to this deadly habit. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania has one of the highest overdose-related death rates in the country, behind only Ohio and West Virginia, as of 2017. That same year, Chester County alone saw 107 deaths as a result of the horrors of this epidemic.
And the deaths are only a part of the picture. Since the start of 2018, there have been more than 21,000 ER visits in Pennsylvania alone for opioid overdoses.
Solving this crisis requires “all hands on deck.” A united, bipartisan effort is essential to treating those currently addicted and to implementing preventative measures that will halt this epidemic. We must collaborate with law enforcement, healthcare providers and our schools to provide a holistic solution.
Profit-obsessed pharmaceutical manufacturers have created a line of products that undercuts patients’ wellbeing, all too frequently replacing existing problems with new ones.
It is my personal mission to continue fighting this crisis on behalf of those battling addiction, as well as their loved ones.
Along with other concerned legislators from both parties, I have sponsored measures increasing regulations that protect those vulnerable to opioid addiction:
- HB 1662 -- Expands the Methadone Death and Incident Review Act to include increased measures ensuring opioid-related deaths are thoroughly investigated.
- HB 2027 – Establishes the Opioid Reparation and Accountability Fund to hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible and the Opiate Epidemic Response Advisory Council.
We must break the cycle of opioid misuse, addiction and overdose once and for all. Only then we can end this epidemic’s deadly path.
If you or a loved one struggle with opioid addiction, know that you are not alone. If you need help finding a provider or funding for addiction treatment, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).