ATLANTA, GA – Yesterday, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), a co-chair of the House Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, participated in a bipartisan Congressional Panel at the National Prescription Drug Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. The summit, hosted by Operation UNITE, brought together law enforcement agencies, government officials, medical personnel, pharmacists and individuals to discuss the prescription drug abuse epidemic that is rampant across the nation.

“Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic across our nation and has been taking an exacting toll on individuals, families and communities,” said Congressman Lynch. “Addiction does not discriminate. It affects all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, and socioeconomic background. This conference brought together officials from all different fields to discuss the effects of prescription drug abuse and reflect on possible solutions to this ongoing problem. It is incumbent upon all of us to continue to work together to combat this problem.”

Lynch continued, “I was honored to serve as a member of yesterday's Congressional Panel in order to bring attention to the devastating effects that prescription drug abuse has on individuals and families. I commend my colleagues on the House Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse for working in a bipartisan manner to address this important issue. I remain committed to helping individuals and families in my district, across the Commonwealth, and across the nation who are suffering from the consequences of addiction.”

As a member of the Congressional Panel, one of the issues that Congressman Lynch focused on was his legislation, H.R. 4241, the Act to Ban Zohydro, which was introduced in the House of Representatives last month. This bill seeks to withdraw the FDA's recent approval of the hydrocodone-only opioid narcotic painkiller Zohydro ER in its current formulation. The FDA approved the drug despite an 11-2 vote by their own advisory panel against doing so. In its current non-abuse deterrent formulation, Zohydro has a high likelihood of abuse due to potential for tampering by chewing, crushing, breaking, or dissolving. The Act to Ban Zohydro would seek to withdraw approval until the drug is available in an abuse deterrent formulation.

In addition to Congressman Lynch, the bipartisan panel included 4 other members of the House Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse of which 2 were Republicans.

Panelists included: Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA), Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV) , Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), and Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), founding co-chair of the House Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse and Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.