U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) voted for 18 opioid-related bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this week to help combat the nation's drug abuse epidemic.
"For years, we have sought out a silver bullet to solve the drug abuse epidemic in this country, but the sad reality is that the scope of the problem has only magnified, and now we're losing 78 people per day to this senseless and preventative epidemic," said Rogers, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. "That's why my colleagues in the House have made it a priority to respond to this crisis with a holistic, multi-pronged approach."
The federal opioid-related legislation focuses on nine areas including prevention, treatment, prescribing practices, women and children, recovery, law enforcement, veterans, criminal justice and overdose reversal.
Rogers encouraged his colleagues to support the bills by highlighting similar comprehensive efforts that have been a successful part of Operation UNITE's work in southern and eastern Kentucky.
"UNITE has helped put more than 4,000 drug pushers behind bars, has provided free treatment vouchers to nearly 4,000 low-income individuals and organized prevention and education efforts in our communities and schools," said Rogers, who helped launch UNITE in 2003. "If we can turn things around in one the most rural parts of the country where small town gossip used to shame folks from talking about drug abuse, we can eradicate the stigma of addiction and help communities rise above the weight of this epidemic. This legislation now allows other parts of the country to duplicate what's going on in southern and eastern Kentucky."
CNN.com featured an op-ed written by Congressman Rogers on Wednesday, May 11th as a part of "Anderson Cooper 360," a town hall with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta regarding prescription drug abuse. Click here to read "Opioid addiction requires action, not silver bullet."
Rogers also spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday in support of these bills, and helped lead a press conference on Friday marking the passing of the following legislation:
1. H.R. 4978, NAS Healthy Babies Act
2. H.R. 3680, Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act
3. H.R. 3691, Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act
4. H.R. 1818, Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act
5. H.R. 4981, Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act
6. H.R. 4969, John Thomas Decker Act
7. H.R. 4586, Lali's Law
8. H.R. 4599, Reducing Unused Medications Act
9. H.R. 4976, Opioid Review Modernization Act
10. H.R. 4982, Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act
11. H.R. 4843, Improving Safe Care for the Prevention of Infant Abuse and Neglect Act
12. H.R. 4985, Kingpin Designation Improvement Act
13. H.R. 5048, Good Samaritan Assessment Act
14. H.R. 5052, Opioid Program Evaluation (OPEN) Act
15. H.R. 4063, Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act
16. H.R. 1725, NASPER Reauthorization Act
17. H.R. 4641, To provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication
18. H.R. 5046, Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit Congressman Rogers' online office athttp://halrogers.house.gov or follow him on Twitter or Instagram @RepHalRogers, and on Facebook.