Fighting the Opioid and Opiate Epidemic
America is in the grip of an unprecedented public health crisis from drug overdoses. More than 64,000 Americans died of an overdose in 2016, more than the number who lost their lives to firearm and automotive deaths combined. Today, overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
I have friends and family members of my own who have been touched by addiction. America is strong enough to respond to this crisis with real solutions that build community resilience all the way from prevention through treatment and recovery.
We need real accountability for drug companies and high-volume opioid prescribers without depriving suffering pain patients that have nowhere else to turn. We need to make sure our first responders have the tools and resources they need to save victims from overdosing.
And we need to keep cheap fentanyl and other deadly opioids from flooding into our streets from overseas.
We must also ensure that treatment is available for individuals suffering from addiction. Today, just one in five addiction sufferers is receiving treatment for their condition. Our healthcare system needs to be ready to accept patients when they have moments of clarity and are ready to seek treatment. That means building a healthcare system that researches and treats addiction as the tragic disease that it is.
If we expand access to proven medical treatments and protect Medicaid - our nation’s number one source of addiction treatment - we will save lives and help more Pennsylvania families and communities find their path of recovery from the devastating effects of this epidemic.