Combating the Opioid Crisis
The opioid abuse crisis is the most serious drug epidemic America has ever faced. As overdose and drug related deaths skyrocket across the United States, it is the responsibility of Congress to work with federal, state, and local authorities to address this crisis. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I’ve learned from both law enforcement and healthcare providers about the many reasons we face this epidemic. Every day, 115 Americans die from an opioid overdose. In 2016 alone, 2,411 Illinoisans died from opioid overdose. And this year, more than 2 million Americans will suffer from addiction to opioids. I am determined to work with my colleagues to develop legislation that raises awareness in the community, increases resources for law enforcement officers, and supports treatment and recovery efforts.
In 2018, Congress passed a legislative package that included several critical provisions to fight the crisis, including a piece of legislation I introduced that had previously been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. My legislation, the Opioid Addiction Action Plan Act, establishes a bipartisan and government-wide action plan to identify ways to be more adaptable to innovative treatments, improve provider and patient knowledge of their options, and increase overall access to treatment. Patients deserve options and a system that is flexible, adaptable, and focused on preventing and treating addiction. Additionally, I supported appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2019 that included historic levels of funding to fight and end the opioid abuse epidemic, with $1.5 billion for state opioid response grants, and more than $6.6 billion to critical programs and agencies who are on the front lines of the crisis,
There is a long list of important pieces of legislation that I have supported to help communities face the challenges of combating the opioid epidemic. Below are just a few of the major pieces of legislation I have supported in Congress: