Opioid Commission Report Includes “Much-Needed Improvements to Our Fight Against Addiction and Overdose”
Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-Pa) today issued the following statement following the public release of recommendations made by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis:
“The opioid epidemic is ravaging Pennsylvania and no community has been spared,” said Congressman Meehan. “While first responders, medical professionals and government at all levels have taken steps to address the crisis, there’s more we can do – and these recommendations will bring much-needed improvements to our fight against addiction and overdose.”
“I’m pleased to see the recommended expansion of specialized federal drug treatment courts, that help individuals coping with addiction get treatment,” Meehan said. “I’ve long been a fighter for veterans’ treatment courts, similar to drug courts, and worked to secure the first-ever federal funding for these courts. By a combination of treatment, preventative care and other services, we can keep more individuals off the streets, out of prison and on the path to recovery.”
The Commission calls for a specific focus on pregnant and postpartum women and their newborns coping with substance use disorders.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the number of babies being born addicted to opioids has skyrocketed by 300% in the last fifteen years,” Meehan said. “It’s a tragic consequence of the wider public health crisis that needs immediate attention. Improved screenings, treatments, interventions and parental support will mean more healthy mothers and more healthy babies.”
The Commission’s report also calls for wider use of naloxone by allowing more medical professionals to administer the life-saving treatment and in higher doses.
“Naloxone has saved hundreds of lives right here in our own region. Our communities have been leaders in adopting it for use among our first responders – last summer police in Delaware County became the first in the world to carry it regularly,” said Meehan. “Sadly, the need for this treatment is only growing, and these steps will help ensure we’re able to get the medication to a victim when it’s needed on a moment’s notice.”
“Defeating the opioid crisis will take time and commitment, but I’m pleased to see the federal government taking a proactive role in being a part of the solution. I stand ready to work with the Administration and my colleagues to ensure robust federal funding in the fight against addiction and overdose.”