Opioid Epidemic

The facts are chilling: Our state is home to the country’s fourth-highest rate of drug overdose deaths. Of the nearly 5,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, close to 85 percent involved opioids. And for every person lost to this epidemic, it not only affects their friends and family but their whole community — from businesses and the economy to schools and our health care system. 

Addressing — and solving — this crisis requires (1) recognizing that drug abuse is a medical problem, not a criminal problem, and (2) proactively providing communities with the resources they need to effectively combat it. 

  • Hold drug companies accountable. When Big Pharma is more interested in exploiting addiction for profits than improving public health, it’s up to Congress and the regulatory agencies it oversees to take every step it can to protect people, not corporate profits.
  • Empower and support the medical community. By expanding Medicaid in our state, Gov. Wolf provided health care to more than 125,000 Pennsylvanians suffering from addiction; additionally, he secured funding to establish 45 centers to treat more than 11,000 individuals suffering from addiction. At every turn possible, Congress should make the funds available to similarly fund programs at the federal level. 
  • Put life-saving tools in professionals’ hands. In Pennsylvania, thousands of lives have been saved thanks to Gov. Wolf equipping first responders, schools, and law enforcement with the overdose-reversing antidote naloxone. Congress must work with state and local agencies and community groups to curb more needless and preventable deaths. 


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