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CSPAN_05-12-2016_13.19.13

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Chair recognizes the gentleman for two minutes. Thank you Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of this measure. As a former state and federal prosecutor who has prosecuted narctics cases, I have seen first-hand the devastating effect that opioid and heroin addiction has had. This nationwide opioid and heroin epidemic stretches home into my district in Central and West Central Illinois. 78 people die from heroin or opioid overdoses each day —that’s quadrupled since 1999. Now it is a leading cause of death, far surpassing deaths by motor vehicle accidents. Just last week I hosted a series of round table forums across my district to personally hear from law enforcement officers, medical professionals, treatment providers, local government officials, and those who have lost loved ones due to overdose. They shared with me the reality of the situation back home: law enforcement has had to double its on hand stock of Narcan, and expand training for police officers when it comes to these overdoses. Heroin is now the primary abused substance in drug court programs like the one in Springfield, IL, but those programs are at capacity. Treatment centers have waitlists over forty days. The consensus was clear: this is a public health crisis. To end it, we need to do a number of things. We need to update medical best practices for coping with pain. We need to expand access to addiction specialists and treatment centers We need to give law enforcement the tools they need and we must continue to promote programs like drug courts. Because this problem is complex, it must be addressed from all angles— and that is precisely what we are doing in the House this week. This bill would address this epidemic, and the concerns I heard last week. It would establish a comprehensive opioid abuse reduction program at the Department of Justice, target federal resources directly at the opioid problem, give states flexibility, and create a streamlined comprehensive opioid abuse grant program. Without raising taxes, this measure authorizes $103 million each year for a variety of programs including residential substance abuse treatment, drug courts, training for law enforcement and first responders, and criminal investigations for unlawful distribution of these opioids. Opioid addiction transcends socio-economic, racial, gender, regional, and educational boundaries. We need to address this crisis now. I thank my colleague Mr. Sensenbrenner and Chairman Goodlatte for bringing this legislation forth. This is a problem that is preventable, and we are doing something about it this week in Congress. I am proud to support this legislation, and I look forward to supporting it. I yield back.

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Duration: 3 minutes and 9 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: kellywrenn on May 12, 2016

CSPAN_05-12-2016_13.19.13

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