Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fighting the Growing Epidemic of Overdoses

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fighting the Growing Epidemic of Overdoses

Article excerpt

Over the past seven years, more than 2,700 residents of St. Louis County have died as a result of heroin or opioid overdose. A sad, stark truth, but deaths related to heroin and prescription drug overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of injury-related deaths nationwide.

Between 2004 and 2015, hospital utilization for opioid abuse increased 137 percent in Missouri, with the highest rates reported in St. Louis. These alarming statistics are proof that no community is immune, and our own neighborhoods are right in the middle of a growing epidemic that is destroying our families, increasing crime on our streets, and robbing so many Missourians of their futures.

It is heartbreaking to know those battling addiction today are our parents, children, friends or neighbors. When they hit rock bottom, they should have the opportunity to get back on their feet. This epidemic is increasingly tearing families apart and destroying opportunities to realize the American dream. It is time for congressional action.

Last week, my colleagues and I in Washington went to work and passed a comprehensive package of legislation that will directly combat the opioid epidemic and help heal those who are suffering most.

This package of bills included legislation that focuses on everything from abuse prevention, helping those most at risk, like our children and veterans, to combating the international drug trafficking trade infiltrating the United States.

Addiction does not discriminate, but instead targets the minds and bodies of its victims no matter their age, race or gender. It is my duty as your representative in the U.S. Congress to provide a voice to the voiceless and stand up for those who can't help themselves.

One piece of legislation I'm particularly pleased that the House passed was the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act, which I was proud to co-sponsor. This legislation will improve care for babies who are so sadly suffering from exposure to opioids while in their mother's womb. …

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