Larsen Leads WA Members Calling For Funds To Address Opioid Addiction Epidemic

Apr 26, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Members of the Washington state Congressional delegation today called for funding to address the heroin and prescription drug addiction epidemic that is affecting communities in the Pacific Northwest and nationwide. Reps. Rick Larsen, WA-02, Suzan DelBene, WA-01, Adam Smith, WA-09, Denny Heck, WA-10, and Jim McDermott, WA-07, wrote to House Appropriators in support of the President’s FY 2017 plan to fight the opioid epidemic.

“Overdoses and deaths related to heroin and prescription painkillers have increased sharply over the past few years, particularly in Washington state,” the members wrote. “Substance abuse has been stigmatized as a moral failing for far too long. We are poised and ready to work with you in order to figure out a solution to this national epidemic.”
 

Full text of the letter follows and is available here.

 

Dear Chairman Cole, Chairman Culberson, Ranking Member DeLauro, and Acting Ranking Member Honda:

We write to express our general support for funding for the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 plan to combat the opioid epidemic. We think that helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse should be a bipartisan priority.

Overdoses and deaths related to heroin and prescription painkillers have increased sharply over the past few years, particularly in Washington state. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration the number of overdose-related deaths is greater than of car accidents and firearms deaths combined.

About 600 people die each year in Washington due to an opioid overdose. Many users begin by abusing prescription drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, and then switch to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to access. As a result, 914,000 Americans aged 12 or older used heroin in 2014. According to the Washington State Department of Health the number of deaths from heroin reached 293 people in 2014, about twice as many as in 2008. Bold action must be taken to provide swift and immediate treatment to manage overdose of opioids.

Substance abuse has been stigmatized as a moral failing for far too long. We are poised and ready to work with you in order to figure out a solution to this national epidemic.

 

Sincerely,

 

Rick Larsen

Member of Congress

 

Suzan DelBene

Member of Congress

 

Adam Smith

Member of Congress

 

Denny Heck

Member of Congress

 

Jim McDermott

Member of Congress

 

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