WASHINGTON, D.C. – Every 20 minutes, someone in America dies from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an effort to combat the drug abuse epidemic and continue life-saving efforts across the country, Congressman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.) re-launched the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. The Caucus was first initiated in 2010 to raise awareness on the federal level about drug abuse and to design effective policy solutions for treatment, prevention, education, law enforcement and research.
"Collaborative efforts combining education, treatment, drug courts and promoting partnerships at the local, state and federal level have helped communities in Massachusetts tackle opioid abuse. However, more work is needed to halt the devastating cycle of prescription drug abuse and help families in the 8th District and across the country who have loved ones struggling with addiction. I am proud to work alongside my friend, Congressman Rogers, to re-launch the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. It is critical for Members of Congress to work on a bipartisan basis to address the challenges of opioid abuse," said Congressman Lynch.
The United States consumes 75% of the world's painkillers, and yet Americans constitute only 5% of the world's population.
“We have seen the prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic sweep across the nation, from the hills of Eastern Kentucky to downtown Boston and coast to coast. There is no part of our nation unscathed by the deadly and devastating clutch of addiction,” said Congressman Rogers, who co-founded the Caucus in 2010. “However, we know there is hope for recovery. We’ve seen lives saved and families reunited in every community, thanks to the collaboration of leaders at the local, state and federal levels. That’s why my friend, Congressman Lynch, and I have joined together to continue the work of this important Caucus.”
Since the Caucus first launched seven years ago, Members have worked on a bipartisan basis to secure critical funding and improve federal policies. For example, co-chairs Rogers and Lynch worked tirelessly to ban the powerful painkiller Zohydro ER until the drug was made available in an abuse deterrent form.
Additionally, the Caucus has addressed issues from neonatal abstinence syndrome in infants, to high rates of substance abuse among military veterans and funding for drug courts across the country.
The successful work of the Caucus is highlighted each year at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, which is the largest annual gathering of professionals from across the country to discuss the multi-faceted challenges of the public health crisis, as well as effective solutions.